Local Firefighters Return from California wildfires in time for Christmas

26 December, 2017, 10:26 | Author: Natasha Holloway
  • Ventura City Fire apparatus moves in position for structure protection during the Thomas fire as efforts to battle the Thomas Fire were under way in Ventura California

"Even though fuels in the fire area remain critically dry, with shorter days and lack of significant winds, no forward progress of the fire is expected".

The fire is the largest blaze in modern California history.

Beginning December 4, the wildfire has destroyed over 1,000 structures in and around the southern California counties of Ventura and Santa Barbara, situated just northwest of Los Angeles, according to Reuters.

More than two weeks after traveling to California to help fight the Thomas Fire, personnel from the Oregon Department of Forestry districts and the Coos and Douglas Forest Protective Associations will be back in Oregon for the holiday weekend.

The amount of acreage burned by Thomas has exceeded the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego County, which spread across 273,246 acres and killed 15 people before firefighters brought it under control, according to the National Weather Service. Some fires before that date undoubtedly were larger but records are unreliable, according to state fire officials.

One fatality directly related to the fire has been reported, a firefighter who succumbed to burns and smoke inhalation in the line of duty last Thursday.

Map: See how far Thomas Fire zone would extend in San Jose

By that point, firefighters already were beginning to take advantage of a lull in the weather.

A newly planted tree also survived the fire.

The fire burned hundreds of homes and prompted mass evacuations.

The ODF and association firefighters were part of more than 8,400 firefighters assigned to combat the fire, which is now 60 percent contained.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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