Weaker winds expected as fire crews continue to battle Thomas fire

This NASA Earth Observatory natural-color image taken on Dec. 5 shows the wildfires in Ventura County Calif

This NASA Earth Observatory natural-color image taken on Dec. 5 shows the wildfires in Ventura County Calif

Wildfires in southern California killed a woman as they destroyed more than 500 buildings, killed dozens of horses and forced hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate.

Firefighters made significant progress on other fronts of the enormous fire that started December 4 in Ventura County. Vegetation is bone dry, there's been hardly any rainfall and winds were expected to gusts up to 40 miles per hour (64 kph) Saturday and up to 50 miles per hour (80 kph) Sunday in the Los Angeles and Ventura areas, the National Weather Service said.

The winds had exceeded 60 miles per hour during the week, causing embers to spread.

TRT World's Frank Ucciardo explains why these winds pose a fresh threat for firefighters.

Seeing the damage in Ventura firsthand on Saturday, Gov. Outside, dust and soot made it hard to breathe.

"They're expected to die down a little bit moving into Tuesday and Wednesday", he says.

Thomas Fire: This inferno has destroyed almost 232,000 acres as of Monday evening and was only about 20 percent contained Monday afternoon. She could not return to her home in the community of Oak View, so she stayed with friends for a few days, coming to the shelter on Friday. "And we got to deal with it". "And then I saw the moon was red".

The Oregon firefighters traveled from various points around the state to California on Friday and Saturday.

The Thomas Fire north of Los Angeles has burned more than 270 square miles, prompted tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed almost 800 structures. It has burned 15,619 acres and is 95% contained.

There were 9,000 firefighting personnel on the scene of the massive blaze. Ojai itself was not threatened, officials said.

Jerry Brown (D) on Saturday warned that expansive wildfires that have burned through close to 200,000 acres across Southern California could be "the new normal", The Los Angeles Times reported. "Packing to evacuate now", Rob Lowe, who lives in a mansion in the wealthy enclave of Montecito near Santa Barbara, wrote on Twitter.

Despite the scale of destruction, only one death has been reported of a 70-year-old woman who died in a vehicle accident on Wednesday as she attempted to flee the flames.

"The cause of death is blunt force injuries with terminal smoke inhalation and thermal injuries", said Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Christopher Young.

US President Donald Trump has issued a state of emergency in California, authorising the release of federal funds. Those fires, concentrated in the state's wine country, killed 43 people. It's unclear whether other structures burned.

With acrid smoke thick in the air, even residents not under evacuation orders were leaving, fearing another shutdown of a key coastal highway that was closed intermittently last week. Firefighters have regained control of it, and it's 60% contained.

Both the Creek and Rye fires in Los Angeles County were 95 and 93 percent contained, respectively, by Monday morning, officials said, while the Skirball Fire in the posh Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles was 85 percent contained.

One of the newest fires, the Lilac Fire, has expanded rapidly, consuming 4,100 acres north of San Diego, and destroying 65 structures after starting Thursday morning. Authorities estimate 600 homes have been destroyed. TRT World's Mobin Nasir reports.

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