Winds temporarily calm on lines of huge California wildfire

Winds temporarily calm on lines of huge California wildfire

They had black bands on their badges in honor of Corey Iverson, the Cal Fire engineer who died in an accident while fighting the Thomas fire in Fillmore.

He drove a fire engine and was killed on the east flank of the Thomas Fire, Lynne Tolmachoff said.

According to the San Diego Tribune, the other 17 firefighters that were part of Iverson's strike team have been pulled from their duties in the area. He was pronounced dead on the scene. He is survived by his wife, who is pregnant, and a 2-year-old daughter, as well as his parents and other family. His death is the first firefighter fatality in the most recent string of wildfires in California.

"Topography, fuels, and shifting winds are presenting a challenge to this operation", the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on its website. Fire officials said a return of gusty Santa Ana winds made further progress hard. The conditions are expected to help any fires spread quickly.

By Wednesday evening, state fire officials said the blaze was 30 percent contained but it continued to threaten Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Summerland and Montecito - a wealthy area home to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey.

"The firefight in front of us continues to go on".

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The fire has blackened more than 249,000 acres (about 390 square miles) and is now the fourth-largest wildfire on record in California since 1932.

October's wine country fires, which killed 44 people, turned Santa Rosa neighborhoods to ash and damaged or destroyed more than $3 billion in property, serve as a sober warning of how bad this can get.

According to KTLA: "Officials are anticipating that the massive Thomas Fire burning in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties won't reach full containment until January 7 - more than a month after it was sparked, Cal Fire said Friday". Her body was found inside the wrecked auto along an evacuation route. Virginia Pesola, 70, was found dead in her auto last week after it was involved in an accident on an evacuation route from the burn area. Tolmachoff said Cal Fire considers her death to be fire-related.

The fire has already burned almost 400 square miles and destroyed at least 900 homes since it began on December 4.

On Wednesday, Cal Fire tweeted that more than 8,000 firefighters and almost 1,000 engines were battling the blaze, which was then at 238,500 acres, but was 30 percent contained.

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