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California Wildfire Burns “Out of Control”

16 Dec 2017, 8:24 pm

Thomas Fire Update

THOUSANDS MORE ACRES BURNED – As of Saturday night, the Thomas Fire in Southern California is at 267,500 acres with containment at 40%. Meteorologist Meredith Garofalo has the latest on this massive wildfire and speaks with Santa Barbara County Fire Department & the US National Weather Service Los Angeles/Oxnard MORE ->

Posted by WeatherNation on Saturday, December 16, 2017

Within two weeks, the Thomas Fire has charred hundreds of thousands of acres, remaining one of California’s largest wildfires in recorded history.

Firefighters have been battling the fire in both Santa Barbara and Ventura County from the ground and in the air, working to contain one of the worst they’ve ever seen.

“If you’re in those evacuation areas you really need to get out,” said Santa Barbara County Fire Public Information Officer Dave Zaniboni.  “This is a serious situation, we’re in the perfect storm here as far as our fire activity goes.  And this fire is, it’s a completely out of control fire and with more winds expected we really need people to obey and abide by the evacuation orders and warnings.”

"This Fire Is Out Of Control"

"This fire is out of control." Santa Barbara County Fire Department Public Information Officer Dave Zaniboni stresses the importance of taking new evacuation orders seriously as the #ThomasFire grows larger in California. Hear more from his interview only on WeatherNation.

Posted by WeatherNation on Saturday, December 16, 2017

The weather has not been cooperating, as gusty winds and extremely dry conditions have continued since the fire began.

“We’ve had a continuous Red Flag Warning for 12 to 13 days, and we had one brief break yesterday (Friday) but we had more warnings today (Saturday),” sad Joe Sirard, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Los Angeles.  “We are in the rainy season in California right now, however there’s been a persistent ridge along the West Coast for several weeks now and that’s kept the dry air and northeast flow over our area for the last several weeks.  We’ve had record heat recently and with the offshore flow, extremely dry air with relative humidities below 10% in a lot of areas.”

And Southern California is not out of the clear yet, as we still have the potential for very rapid fire growth in the coming week.

“For the foreseeable future for the next five to ten days, we don’t see any rain moving into our area,” Sirard said.  “In fact, it looks like another ridge is going to block weather systems coming into the West Coast this week into next weekend potentially.”

As of Saturday evening, at least 95,000 people had to evacuate since the fire began and more than 18,000 structures remain threatened by the fire.

“This is a dynamic event where on one part of the fire, we’re beginning recovery efforts for the people who are returning to their home or have who have lost their home and they need recovery supplies,”  said Matt Teter, an American Red Cross spokesperson.  “And here on this side of the fire, where new mandatory evacuation orders are ordered, we are providing additional sheltering.  The best thing that people can do right now is make a financial contribution.”

Santa Barbara County Evacuation Map

Ventura County Evacuation Map

WeatherNation will continue to bring you the latest updates on the weather conditions across Southern California.

If you would like to support those impacted by the fire, text “RED CROSS” to 90999 to donate $10 , call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit their website for more information.

For WeatherNation, I’m Meteorologist Meredith Garofalo


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