Sunday, 20 October, 2019

All significant California wildfire evacuation orders lifted

Althought danger from the Thomas Fire has subsided Santa Barbara County air pollution control officials urge residentst to keep their N-95 masks at the ready in case winds stir up the ash from thousands of acres of fire All significant California wildfire evacuation orders lifted
Patty Aguilar | 23 December, 2017, 06:08

As of Friday, the firefight had cost $170 million and has burned through more than 1,060 buildings, leaving a path of destruction as about 6,800 firefighters battle the blaze.

Days of unrelenting hot, gusty winds drive it through Ventura neighborhoods, incinerating entire blocks, and threatened the wealthy enclave of Montecito.

Incremental increases in burned acreage detected by daily aerial surveys since then have been largely due to controlled-burning operations conducted by firefighters to clear swaths of vegetation between the smoldering edges of the fire zone and populated areas.

A spate of California wildfires has destroyed an area larger than New York City and Boston - combined. Full containment of the fire is not expected until January 7, officials said.

Despite minimal activity, the so-called Thomas Fire increased in size to 272,800 acres (110,400 hectares) as of Friday morning.

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The blaze, which began December 4, grew to 273,400 acres Friday and officially surpassed the Cedar Fire, which burned 273,246 acres across San Diego County in 2003.

The Thomas fire is the second-largest wildfire in California since 1932, behind the Cedar Fire of 2003, with 110,578 hectares.

The lifting of evacuation orders and warnings in Santa Barbara County left only remote and little developed Rose Valley in the wilderness of neighboring Ventura County under an order barring residents and visitors. At its peak the fire drove about 100,000 people from their homes.

The Thomas fire came two months after a spate of wind-driven blazes in Northern California's wine country incinerated several thousand homes and killed more than 40 people, ranking as the deadliest rash of wildfires, and one of the most destructive, in state history.

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