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The Thomas Fire in California's Ventura and Santa Barbara counties has consumed more than 230,000 acres over the past week — becoming the fifth largest fire in the state's history and continuing to send firefighters scrambling to control the blaze, officials said on Monday.
Five fires covering more than a quarter of a million acres continue to rage across Southern California, with 9,000 firefighters combating the flames, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.
Moonscaping is when brush burns completely away, “so that the landscape looks like the surface of the moon,” said Ian MacDonald, a public information officer for the Thomas fire. . “That isn’t in all areas, but in some areas that’s what’s happening, which is an indication of what we call extreme fire behavior,” MacDonald said.
In such difficult terrain, officials with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Monday that they have essentially no way to get boots and hoses on the ground to attack the western front of the Thomas fire directly.
Reinvigorated by Santa Ana gusts and canyons of bone-dry vegetation, the Thomas fire surged into the Santa Barbara County foothills Sunday, forcing evacuations in the coastal communities of Carpinteria and Montecito.
For more Southern California news, follow us on Twitter: @LATvives, @melissaetehad and @latimesharriet. Residents return to rubble as fire crews make progress on San Diego and Los Angeles wildfires. 'An unprecedented loss of life': The grim toll of Southland fires on animals born to run
Wind gusts that helped push a massive wildfire into Santa Barbara County this weekend were growing weaker Monday, but authorities say the week-old Thomas fire still threatens the coastal enclaves of Carpinteria, Summerland and Montecito.
Firefighters ready to protect homes in Montecito should the Thomas fire bear down. Redding firefighter who suffered broken leg while battling Thomas fire 'is in good spirits'. 1:35 p.m.: This article was updated with the scene in Summerland and comments from Laurent Pellerin.
Authorities said the out-of-control blaze had scorched 230,000 acres by Sunday evening, making it the fifth largest wildfire in modern California history.
Firefighters had a successful day Saturday battling flames on the southern edge of the Thomas fire — working toward the coast as well as parts of Ojai — thanks to wind conditions and crews’ ability to improve the fire lines they had established, according to Bill Murphy, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.
Bangladesh's government condemned an attack on New York City's subway system, as it emerged that the suspect is an immigrant from the South Asian nation.
Over the last year, the government has reinforced a crackdown to crush Islamist militants and killed dozens of suspects, including some accused of being the masterminds of the restaurant attack.
With the 230,500-acre Thomas fire still miles to the east, firefighters in Montecito were going door to door Monday to see who did or did not evacuate, which homes had water sources, which had good clearance between their property and the forest and if the home appeared to be defendable should the Thomas fire bear down on the community.
The Thomas fire isn't the worst Raines has seen — he was up in Napa County just two months ago for the wine country fires — but it was unusual.
His crew was new to the Thomas fire, but they had been fighting flames for a week — first in Bel-Air, where the Skirball fire scorched more than 400 acres, then Murrieta, battling the smaller Liberty fire.
Fire crews went door-to-door looking for holdouts and water sources, such as homes with pools or wells they could draw from should the Thomas fire bear down on the city. A gray haze hung over Montecito, where stores and gas stations in the evacuation zone north of Highway 192 were closed and only a scattering of residents stayed behind.
The wildfires that raced across the hills of Southern California this week have tested the tough regulations California communities put in place to contain widespread destruction of homes in these seasonal fires.
While they can certainly help in slow-moving fires, they have proved no match to the high-wind fires that made this fire season in California so destructive. “It helps in that it gives us defensible space,” said Ralph M. Terrazas, the chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
They were among a smattering of defiant holdouts who sought to protect their homes as fire crews entered their second week in the fierce fight against the Thomas fire.
Serna and Panzar reported from Santa Barbara County, St. John from Northern California and Tchekmedyian from Los Angeles.
A cooking fire at a homeless encampment sparked a wildfire last week that destroyed six homes in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, authorities said Tuesday, while the fifth-largest wildfire in California history burning northwest of the city kept expanding and kept thousands out of their homes.
READ MORE: ‘Firefighting at Christmas’ may become normal in California, officials warn. To the north, San Francisco Bay Area firefighters quickly contained blazes Tuesday that destroyed at least two homes in hills east of Oakland — the site of a 1991 firestorm that killed 25 people.
On the campus of the University of Minnesota, for example, conservative students say they have been subject to harassment and threats – albeit nonviolent – for their political beliefs.
Just because Midwestern universities and colleges have been largely spared the left-wing violence that has marred campus events on the West and East coasts doesn’t mean the heartland is a safe space for conservative students.
“If we get hard rain, there are going to be terrible landslides in the burn areas,” Carla D‘Antonio, chairman of University of California, Santa Barbara’s environmental studies program, said in an email. “It doesn’t take a lot of rain to get the soil and rock moving, so to have burned soil on top of this and no significant plant cover creates huge potential for landslides,” she added.
Among the cities at risk is Santa Barbara, with 92,000 people, as well as the smaller communities of Carpinteria, Ojai and Summerland.
A new study is warning parents to avoid blinds with long cords, citing numerous cases of child deaths and injuries caused by the window coverings.
“Despite existing voluntary safety standards for window blinds, these products continue to pose an injury risk to young children,” the study reads, recommending that mandatory safety standards be implemented to ban blind cords altogether. According to Health Canada, there were 69 reports related to strangulation posed by window coverings between 1986 and 2016 — at least 35 were fatal.
Every weekday, nearly 5.7 million people move through New York City’s subway system, commuting through 472 subway stations and across 662 miles of track.
American counter-terrorism experts have long warned that, compared to the heavy security and screening regimens at airports, trains and commuter rail systems are comparatively vulnerable to attack. This summer, an al-Qaida propaganda outlet reportedly released a guide to derailing trains and attacking rail systems, which included a list of popular American train routes, including the Acela Express line through Boston, New York, and Washington.