Strong winds push Thomas Fire to 267500 acres; now 40 percent contained

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Break in winds helps California battle historic wildfire

The huge blaze is now the third largest in the recorded history of California.

The total cost of fighting the fire had come to more than $110 million (£82.5 million) by Saturday evening, as flames blazing over steep hills lit up the night skies. Gusts of up to 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) were expected. More than 1,000 buildings have already burned in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The blaze has threatened communities for the better part of two weeks, starting in Ventura and Santa Paula, then Ojai and now much of the Santa Barbara coast. But Brown said if the flames took hold in the canyon, it would be too unsafe for firefighters to try to intervene.

"But if you're going to have a fire of this magnitude in this county, the fact that we have 400 fire trucks and this great management team working here".

The hillsides above the village have been treated with fire retardant, and in some cases brush and trees have been cleared in the hope of starving the fast-moving flames.

The enclave is home to the mansions of Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and other celebrities. On Saturday, she tweeted, "Still praying for our little town". The blaze spread quickly in the morning, fueled by strong winds. She said an evening report that the fire was 93 percent contained was incorrect. "Said it was from breathing bad, bad air for the past week".

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The Angeles National Forest has elevated its fire danger level to extreme and fire restrictions are now in effect throughout the forest, officials said, also urging people to use caution when driving.

The Thomas Fire burns intensely Saturday afternoon below East Camino Cielo and east of Gibraltar Road.

The only upside, residents said, is that the fumes in the air have made for some attractive sunsets.

December 17-The Thomas Fire is well on its way to becoming the largest wildfire ever recorded in California. Iverson, 32, had been with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection since 2009.

The second video is from the Netflix docu-series Fire Chasers and captures the moment when firefighters were trapped by the unpredictable "Blue Cut" fire of August 2016. A 70-year-old woman died last week while fleeing the blaze.

Experts blame global warming, a recent extreme drought and the hot, dry winds that blow down from the California mountains every fall. Powerful seasonal winds have whipped the fires along, eating up the mass of new growth which sprung up when rains broke a 5-year drought earlier in the year.

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