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In pictures: California's Thomas Fire rages towards coastal cities

© Sandy Huffaker, AFP | Firefighters walk to the fire line at the Lilac fire in Bonsall, California on December 7, 2017.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-12-11

A massive California wildfire that has already destroyed nearly 800 structures scorched another 56,000 acres on Sunday, making it the fifth largest such blaze in recorded state history, as it ran toward picturesque coastal cities.

Crews with help from a fleet of water-dropping planes and helicopters saved homes as unpredictable gusts sent the blaze deeper into residential foothill areas northwest of Los Angeles that haven't burned in decades

"This is a menacing fire, certainly, but we have a lot of people working very diligently to bring it under control," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told an evening press conference.

Still, some 5,000 residents remained under evacuation orders in the two communities, near Santa Barbara and about 160 km northwest of Los Angeles. Some 15,000 homes were considered threatened.

The Thomas Fire, the worst of six major blazes in Southern California in the last week and already the fifth largest in the state since 1932, has blackened 230,000 acres (570,000 hectares), more than the area of New York City. It has destroyed 790 houses, outbuildings and other structures, and left 90,000 homes and businesses without power.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2017-12-11

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