Firefighter killed while fighting Thomas Fire

Cheryl Sanders
December 15, 2017

People will see a lot more smoke as a result, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

The firefighter was identified only as a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) engineer from San Diego who had been deployed to the so-called Thomas Fire.

A firefighter was killed while trying to contain the biggest wildfire that has scorched more than 98,000 hectares in Southern California.

The Thomas fire burns in the Los Padres National Forest
Getty Images

Cal Fire has assigned an accident-review team to determine the circumstances and cause of the fatality, according to Pimlott, who added that "until this review is complete, there is nothing more I can share".

The Thomas Fire has blackened nearly 250,000 acres (100,000 hectares) since it broke out ten days ago, Cal Fire said, making it the fourth-largest blaze in the state's history. A 70-year-old Santa Paula woman's body was discovered in her vehicle along an evacuation route last week. IMT 4, CAL FIRE Local 2881 and Southern Region leadership are working to support the Unit and his family, who have been notified.

That fire burned down 157 structures, most in its destructive first hours. That surpasses a blaze that burned inland Santa Barbara County a decade ago.

The brush fire is at 30 percent containment after burning for 11 days, scorching from Ojai up to Santa Barbara, according to fire officials. The winds are pushing the fire east and northeast, through Fillmore and toward the Santa Clarita Valley area. But coastal enclaves to the west remain under threat Thursday as crews protect hillside homes in Montecito and Carpinteria.

State officials said the wildfire straddling coastal Ventura and Santa Barbara counties covered 379 square miles.

The National Weather Service said extreme fire danger conditions could last through the weekend due to lack of moisture along with a likely increase in wind speeds.

Since the blaze broke out December 4, it has burned more than 372 square miles (965 square kilometers) and destroyed 921 buildings - including at least 700 homes.

A Red Flag warning was issued for Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties until 10 a.m. Friday, and a mandatory and volunteer evacuation orders continued northwest and northeast of the city of Santa Barbara. That blaze killed 46 race horses at a training center, and left one of their trainers with serious burns.

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