In a tug-of-war with a massive wildfire north of Los Angeles, authorities said the ground they lost to the fire a day ago had been regained.
Firefighters on the ground, as well as water-dumping fixed wing aircraft and helicopters, had managed to bring the week-old, nearly 232,000-acre Thomas Fire, to 20 percent containment, after retreating from the massive blaze on Sunday.
The fire has destroyed 683 homes, officials said. It has also forced the evacuation of thousands of residents.
Efforts to fight the fire, which has engulfed parts of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, have been aided by milder wind conditions, member station KCLU reports.
KCLU says: “Firefighters say their efforts to keep the blaze from moving west out of the Carpinteria area to Montecito are going well.”
The Associated Press reports:
“Ash fell like snow and heavy smoke had residents gasping for air Monday as the fire drove celebrities from the area.
… Officials handed out masks to those who stayed behind in Montecito, an exclusive community about 75 miles northwest of Los Angeles that’s home to stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bridges and Drew Barrymore.”
The AP notes: “The National Weather Service said that if the long-term forecast holds, there will have been 13 consecutive days of dry offshore flow before it ends Friday afternoon. There have only been 17 longer streaks since 1948, including the record of 24 days set between December 1953 and January 1954.”
The Thomas Fire is now the fifth largest in California’s modern history and follows the deadliest-ever wildfires in the state mere weeks before, which killed 44 people and destroyed more than 10,000 homes and other structures.