Thomas Fire eats 200000 acres, Santa Barbara County gets evacuation order

The Southern California wildfire raged on through Sunday, threatening the idyllic beach communities of Santa Barbara County as the Thomas Fire crosses the 200,000 acre damage mark.

Evacuation orders have now been give for Santa Barbara residents living north of Highway 192 and east of Mission Canyon.

Low humidity and gusty Santa Ana winds have made firefighting efforts difficult, and Friday’s temporary respite did not last long.

Ventura County Fire Department spokesperson Steve Swindle said that the dry vegetation to the north of Carpinteria was helping the fire move quickly westward: “The fuels in there are thick and they’re dead so they’re very receptive to fire.”

Firefighters are now worries that the blaze might reach the creek beds nearby, enabling it to quickly move down the dry beds in a chimney-like effect.

8,500 firefighters are now deployed against six major blazes, but as of Sunday the fire was only 15% under control. The cause of the fire that started a week ago is still to be determined.

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