Firefighters continued to battle blazes across a large swath of Southern California on Saturday, and state officials warned that continued high winds into Sunday could create erratic fire conditions, leaving residents with little chance of a reprieve from the flames and smoke that have lasted nearly a week.
The Thomas Fire here, in a coastal region northwest of Los Angeles, remained the largest active wildfire in the state, having burned through nearly 150,000 acres and taking with it more than 500 buildings and at least one life. Though officials began lifting evacuation orders in Ventura – to the south of the fire – residents in Carpinteria and Santa Barbara, enclaves along Highway 101 further northwest, were still under threat as the fire’s northern vanguard continued to move.
Officials said that expected winds, which could strike up at a moment’s notice and had been pushing the fires toward populated areas, remained a concern. They also lamented the brutal fire season, which has sent massive fires into urban areas up and down the state.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Rob Kuznia, Max Ufberg, Soo Youn, Amy B Wang