LOS ANGELES – More evacuations were ordered on Saturday in southern California as a wildfire that has been burning since Dec. 4 raged on.
Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for more parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as the fire continued to burn.
“Very strong north winds” and dry conditions have allowed the fire increase “significantly” and make an “aggressive push” south, according to an incident report published by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE) on Saturday evening.
The blaze, called the Thomas Fire, has burned over 267,000 acres (108,000 hectares), making it the third-largest in the state’s history. It was only 40 percent contained on Saturday evening.
On Thursday, a 32-year-old firefighter died on duty near the town of Fillmore. There have been no civilian casualties reported.
Over 750 family homes have been destroyed, as well as two apartment complexes and two mixed commercial and residential buildings. Another 18,000 structures were under threat.
Official estimates have placed the total cost of the fire at over $110 million so far.
Authorities do not expect the blaze to be fully contained until Jan. 7, 2018.