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California Wildfires | Photos and Video

Horrifying images emerge as wildfires ravage California


Staff Writers

Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 12:02 - One of the biggest wildfires in California's history grew on Tuesday as relentless wind gusts and bone-dry weather challenged firefighters seeking to gain control of the blaze.

The conflagration, known as the Thomas Fire, has burned 234,200 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties about 100 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and grew by about 2,500 acres overnight, according to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) on Tuesday. It ranks as the fifth-largest wildfire in the state's history, and hazardous weather was expected to persist through the week.

Gusty offshore winds will continue to threaten structures in Ventura County and surrounding areas as well as the communication infrastructure, which could affect public safety, such as cellular services, according to Cal Fire.

Nearly 7,000 firefighters were battling the Thomas Fire, which has destroyed almost 900 structures including more than 690 homes, Cal Fire said. The inferno, which threatens about 18,000 structures, was 20 percent contained by Tuesday morning.

Efforts to combat the wildfire, which has displaced more than 94,000 people, have cost more than $48 million to date.

Dry vegetation that has not burned in 50 years has acted as fuel for the fire in the mountains southeast of Santa Barbara and northwest of Ventura counties, Cal Fire spokesman Ian McDonald said. 

Some of the other fires burning over the past week in San Diego and Los Angeles counties have been largely brought under control by the thousands of firefighters on the ground. Cal Fire officials said they expect full containment of the Lilac Fire by Dec. 21.

This outbreak marks the state's longest-lasting Santa Ana wind event of the season.

Below is a compilation of the horrific scenes coming out of southern California




Fire fighters attack the Thomas Fire’s north flank with backfires as they continue to fight a massive wildfire north of Los Angeles, near Ojai, California. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

Ventura Sheriff Commander Dave Murray walks through his destroyed property after his house was reduced to ashes in Ventura, California, U.S. December 8, 2017. Picture taken December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Ben Gruber

Horses run after being freed at a ranch in San Luis Rey Downs Center, as a wildfire spreads in Bonsall, California in this still image taken from a December 7, 2017 video obtained from social media. Tom Marshall/via REUTERS

Ranch-hands free horses at a ranch in San Luis Rey Downs Center, as a wildfire spreads in Bonsall, California in this still image taken from a December 7, 2017 video obtained from social media. Tom Marshall/via REUTERS

Below: Rabbit jumps into wildfire, man panics but watch what happens next 



A photo taken from the International Space Station and moved on social media by astronaut Randy Bresnik shows smoke rising from wildfire burning in Southern California, U.S., December 6, 2017. Courtesy @AstroKomrade/NASA/Handout via REUTERS

A photo taken from the International Space Station and moved on social media by astronaut Randy Bresnik shows smoke rising from wildfire burning in Southern California, U.S., December 6, 2017. Courtesy @AstroKomrade/NASA/Handout via REUTERS

 



A photo taken from the International Space Station and moved on social media by astronaut Randy Bresnik shows smoke rising from wildfire burning in Southern California, U.S., December 6, 2017. Courtesy @AstroKomrade/NASA/Handout via REUTERS

Smoke rises from a home damaged by the Skirball fire near the Bel Air neighborhood on the west side of Los Angeles, California, U.S., December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen


RELATED | Raging California wildfires force 200,000 people to flee. UPDATES here.


The remains of a home are seen, after it burned to the ground, during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Some live stock animals try to keep away from the flames after an early-morning Creek Fire broke out in the Kagel Canyon area in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, in Sylmar, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

A weather vane is pictured on a ranch during the Creek Fire in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, in Sylmar, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

A fire crew passes a burning home during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

WATCH BELOW: Footage shows 'unbelievable conditions' as Creek fire burns in LA



The remains of a home are seen, after it burned to the ground, during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

A structure is engulfed in flames from a Santa Ana wind-driven brush fire called the Thomas Fire in Santa Paula, California, December 4, 2017. Photo taken December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

Smoke rises into the night sky as strong winds push the Thomas Fire across thousands of acres near Santa Paula, California, U.S., December 4, 2017. Picture taken December 4, 2017. REUTERS/David McNew

Firefighters battle a Santa Ana wind-driven brush fire called the Thomas Fire near Ventura, California, December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

WATCH BELOW: ‘Not the typical commute’: Shocking video of SoCal Skirball fire



Firefighters battle flames from a Santa Ana wind-driven brush fire called the Thomas Fire in Santa Paula, California, December 4, 2017. Photo taken December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

Flames spread behind a vehicle from a Santa Ana wind-driven brush fire called the Thomas Fire in Santa Paula, California, December 4, 2017. Photo taken December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

WATCH: Mad scramble to cars in dramatic California wildfire rages



With files from Reuters

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