The California fire known as the Thomas fire, which has scorched Ventura County and now Santa Barbara County, is now the fifth-largest in the history of the state, reaching an extent of 230,000 acres on Sunday with only 10% containment.
Firefighters battled on the edges of Carpenteria and Montecito, two beach cities lining the 101 Freeway en route to the city of Santa Barbara, to keep the blaze from running through the towns, especially along dry creeks that create perfect conditions for fires to spread.
The Los Angeles Times reports that most of the other fires in the region are largely or totally contained as of Monday morning. However, the Thomas fire is still threatening residents`
With the northern and eastern fronts of the fire moving mainly into uninhabited areas of the Los Padres National Forest, fire officials concentrated Sunday on protecting the beach city of Carpinteria and Montecito, the wealthy enclave to its west.
Throughout the day, the fire moved down the mountains north of Carpinteria into foothills several miles from its downtown. The flames chewed rapidly through hillsides thick with vegetation.
As the fire moved, people in the foothills near Carpinteria and Montecito were ordered to leave immediately and fire officials urged all residents to begin preparing to evacuate.
The city of Santa Barbara is not directly threatened, but is taking precautions. The Times notes that the local zoo was closed. On Sunday, the local Santa Barbara News-Pressreported that Amtrak had suspended train service to the area, which normally runs along the coast from Los Angeles.
Visiting the area on Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown blamed climate change and warned residents that such fires could become “the new normal.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
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