Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

The agency first began considering the issue after a devastating series of Southern California wildfires in 2007, which were tied to swaying and arcing power lines, some of which even fell down during heavy winds.

The Thomas Fire is the fourth largest recorded in California history.

After Iverson's death, all of the 17 members of the strike team were pulled from the Thomas Fire, which they'd been battling since December 5, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

His name was Cory Iverson and he was only 32-years-old.

It was the second death linked to the fire. A 70-year-old woman was killed in a vehicle crash while evacuating as the fire raged last week.

Cal Fire has assigned an accident-review team to determine the circumstances and cause of the fatality, according to Pimlott, who added that "until this review is complete, there is nothing more I can share".

A day after a Cal Fire engineer died fighting the Thomas Fire, details of what led to his death remain unclear on Friday, and condolences and donations were being offered to his family in Escondido.

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Utah's firefighters battling the Thomas Fire in California would love to be home for Christmas, but that doesn't seem likely at this point.

The camp was empty when firefighters found it, but people apparently had been sleeping and cooking there for at least several days, he said. "The communities we are protecting are depending on us, and we will not fail".

Authorities said it now covered 379 square miles (982 square kilometres). Those efforts could be tested soon, however, as forecasters predict a new blast of Santa Ana winds Thursday, and sundowner winds over Santa Barbara County on Friday.

Firefighting costs so far were tallied at $88.8 million, according to Cal Fire.

Some evacuations were lifted and the risk to the agricultural city of Fillmore was diminishing.

A return of gusty Santa Ana winds brought renewed activity to inland portions of the so-called Thomas Fire straddling coastal Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Cory's family and all of his friends and co-workers throughout the department and the fire service". Flames threatened some 18,000 buildings and prompted evacuations of about 100,000 people.

To the south in San Diego County, firefighters came very close to containing another major wildfire a week after it broke out.

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