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More than 141,000 acres burned

Largest blaze is Thomas Fire in Ventura County

File photo by Nick Lovejoy

While there aren’t any fires burning in San Benito County, large areas of the state are currently ablaze.

“We have six active fires going on right now in Southern California, the largest one is the Thomas Fire at 141,000 acres,” said David Clark, public information officer with CAL FIRE currently assigned to the Thomas Fire in Ventura County. “The fire started in Ventura County, spread to Santa Barbara County and into Los Padres National Forest.”

There are approximately 3,000 firefighters tackling the blaze that began Monday December 4.

As of Friday December 8, the fire is 10 percent contained. Over 88,000 people have been evacuated and 400 structures have been damaged or destroyed.

The area is under a red flag warning from now until next week. The combination of strong winds and low humidity following the drought have contributed to the fire.

Clark said it is not the years during a drought that pose great fire risk, but the years following the drought as vegetation quickly grows and dries out.

As nearly 8,700 firefighters made progress with several large fires in southern California, two new fires erupted and quickly spread on Friday, pushed by Santa Ana winds. A total of six fires have burned more than 141,000 acres and driven more than 212,000 residents from their homes.

Winds and low humidity continue today in fire-stricken southern California, although it’s not expected to be as severe as yesterday. Sustained wind speeds are expected to remain around 15 to 20 miles per hour, with gusts up to 40 miles per hour in some areas. Temperatures are expected to rise, with highs reaching into the mid 80s in many spots. Another round of strong, offshore winds will return to the area Saturday night into Sunday. Northern California remains dry with above average daytime temperatures and colder nights.

Fire Summary:

Lilac Fire, San Diego County

Bonsall

  • 4,100 acres, 0 percent contained
  • Evacuations and road closures in effect
  • CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 1 (Gouvea) assigned

Thomas Fire, Ventura County

Santa Paula

  • 132,000 acres, 10 percent contained
  • Evacuations and road closures in effect
  • 15,000 homes threatened
  • Over 88,000 residents evacuated
  • CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 4 (Derum) assigned

Creek Fire, Los Angeles County

Kagel Canyon

  • 15,323 acres, 40 percent contained
  • Evacuations and road closures in effect
  • CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 5 (Bravo) assigned

Rye Fire, Los Angeles County

Santa Clarita

  • 6,049 acres, 35 percent contained
  • Evacuations and road closures in effect
  • 5,460 homes threatened
  • 2,000 residents evacuated
  • CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 6 (Estes) assigned

Liberty Fire, Riverside County

Murrieta

  • 300 acres, 59 percent contained

Skirball Fire, Los Angeles County

North of Brentwood

  • 475 acres, 30 percent contained
  • Evacuations and road closures in effect