Reinvigorated by strong winds, Southern California’s largest wildfire blazed into new terrain, forcing new evacuations in two wealthy Santa Barbara County communities. Fire crews scrambled north from Ventura to protect hillside homes as the 170,000-acre fire, known as the Thomas Fire, ignited coastal mountains and filled the sky with billowing plumes of smoke. Across Southern California, more than 9,000 firefighters battled some 200,000 acres of wildfires. The blazes, which began last Monday, have claimed one life and more than 800 structures, fire officials said.
Over the weekend, progress was made on many of the six fires burning throughout Southern California, with significant containment reached on three fires in Los Angeles County and one in San Diego County, fire officials said. The Liberty Fire in Riverside County was completely contained. In Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, however, Thomas remained only 15% contained Sunday morning, after having burned 173,000 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.