ShareThis Page
Featured Photography

Days of toil bring hard-won gains over huge California fire

| Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, 6:51 a.m.
Flames from a wildfire advance down a hillside near the Springs of Life Church in Casitas Springs, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017.  Wind-driven fires tore through California communities Tuesday for the second time in two months, leaving hundreds of homes feared lost and uprooting tens of thousands of people. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Flames from a wildfire advance down a hillside near the Springs of Life Church in Casitas Springs, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Wind-driven fires tore through California communities Tuesday for the second time in two months, leaving hundreds of homes feared lost and uprooting tens of thousands of people. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
James and Josie Ralstin carry belongings from their Ventura, Calif., home as flames from a wildfire consume another residence on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. The couple evacuated early Tuesday morning as the fire approached, but returned to retrieve medications and other property. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
James and Josie Ralstin carry belongings from their Ventura, Calif., home as flames from a wildfire consume another residence on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. The couple evacuated early Tuesday morning as the fire approached, but returned to retrieve medications and other property. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A volunteer passes supplies donated to Thomas fire evacuees in Ventura, Calif., on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.  As many as five fires have closed highways, schools and museums, shut down production of TV series and cast a hazardous haze over the region. About 200,000 people were under evacuation orders. No deaths and only a few injuries were reported. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A volunteer passes supplies donated to Thomas fire evacuees in Ventura, Calif., on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. As many as five fires have closed highways, schools and museums, shut down production of TV series and cast a hazardous haze over the region. About 200,000 people were under evacuation orders. No deaths and only a few injuries were reported. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A helicopter makes a water drop on hot spots after the Thomas fire swept through Ventura, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Daniel Dreifuss via AP)
A helicopter makes a water drop on hot spots after the Thomas fire swept through Ventura, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Daniel Dreifuss via AP)
Maurice Kaboud makes a phone call after a wildfire threatened his home in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. When firefighters told Kaboud to evacuate, he decided to stay and protect his home. The 59-year-old stood in the backyard of his multimillion- dollar home as the Skirball fire raged nearby. 'God willing, this will slow down so the firefighters can do their job,' Kaboud said. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Maurice Kaboud makes a phone call after a wildfire threatened his home in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. When firefighters told Kaboud to evacuate, he decided to stay and protect his home. The 59-year-old stood in the backyard of his multimillion- dollar home as the Skirball fire raged nearby. 'God willing, this will slow down so the firefighters can do their job,' Kaboud said. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Emanuel Vasquez, of Oxnard, Calif., passes a burning residence on Foothill Road as a wildfire rages in Ventura, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Emanuel Vasquez, of Oxnard, Calif., passes a burning residence on Foothill Road as a wildfire rages in Ventura, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A water dropping helicopter flies over a hot spot on the Creek Fire in the Lake View Terrace area of Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
A water dropping helicopter flies over a hot spot on the Creek Fire in the Lake View Terrace area of Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Firefighters removes furniture from a home destroyed in a wildfire in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. A dangerous new wildfire erupted in the tony Bel Air area of Los Angeles early Wednesday as firefighters battled three other destructive blazes across Southern California. (AP Photo/Jae Hong)
Firefighters removes furniture from a home destroyed in a wildfire in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. A dangerous new wildfire erupted in the tony Bel Air area of Los Angeles early Wednesday as firefighters battled three other destructive blazes across Southern California. (AP Photo/Jae Hong)
Firefighter Dan Whelan is silhouetted against the sun as he battles a wildfire burning near Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Firefighter Dan Whelan is silhouetted against the sun as he battles a wildfire burning near Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A resident flees a wildfire in the Lake View Terrace area of Los Angeles Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Ferocious winds in Southern California have whipped up explosive wildfires, burning a psychiatric hospital and scores of other structures. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
A resident flees a wildfire in the Lake View Terrace area of Los Angeles Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Ferocious winds in Southern California have whipped up explosive wildfires, burning a psychiatric hospital and scores of other structures. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Fire crews search for hot spots among destroyed homes in the Rancho Monserate Country Club community Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, in Fallbrook, Calif. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes in Southern California. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Fire crews search for hot spots among destroyed homes in the Rancho Monserate Country Club community Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, in Fallbrook, Calif. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes in Southern California. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Crystal Shore, left, and her sister Carrie look over the damage to their neighbor's home along Via San Anselmo in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Crystal Shore, left, and her sister Carrie look over the damage to their neighbor's home along Via San Anselmo in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Flames and smoke shroud State Route 33 as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Daniel Dreifuss via AP)
Flames and smoke shroud State Route 33 as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Daniel Dreifuss via AP)
Fire crews work among destroyed homes at the Rancho Monserate Country Club community Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, in Fallbrook, Calif. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes in Southern California. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Fire crews work among destroyed homes at the Rancho Monserate Country Club community Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, in Fallbrook, Calif. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes in Southern California. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Paul and Erica Mattesich embrace before sifting through rubble at their Ventura, Calif., home on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. The family lost their house when the Thomas fire tore through their neighborhood on Colina Vista. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Paul and Erica Mattesich embrace before sifting through rubble at their Ventura, Calif., home on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. The family lost their house when the Thomas fire tore through their neighborhood on Colina Vista. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A firefighter mops up at a home consumed by a wildfire in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. A dangerous new wildfire erupted in the tony Bel Air area of Los Angeles early Wednesday as firefighters battled three other destructive blazes across Southern California. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A firefighter mops up at a home consumed by a wildfire in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. A dangerous new wildfire erupted in the tony Bel Air area of Los Angeles early Wednesday as firefighters battled three other destructive blazes across Southern California. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A mansion that survived a wildfire sits on a hilltop in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. A dangerous new wildfire erupted in the tony Bel Air area of Los Angeles early Wednesday as firefighters battled three other destructive blazes across Southern California. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A mansion that survived a wildfire sits on a hilltop in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. A dangerous new wildfire erupted in the tony Bel Air area of Los Angeles early Wednesday as firefighters battled three other destructive blazes across Southern California. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
The sun is seen through thick smoke generated by a wildfire Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Santa Paula, Calif. Raked by ferocious Santa Ana winds, explosive wildfires northwest of Los Angeles and in the city's foothills burned a psychiatric hospital and scores of homes and other structures Tuesday and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
The sun is seen through thick smoke generated by a wildfire Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Santa Paula, Calif. Raked by ferocious Santa Ana winds, explosive wildfires northwest of Los Angeles and in the city's foothills burned a psychiatric hospital and scores of homes and other structures Tuesday and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A wildfire continues to burn as its red glow is reflected on the beach Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Ventura, Calif. Raked by ferocious Santa Ana winds, explosive wildfires northwest of Los Angeles and in the city's foothills burned a psychiatric hospital and scores of homes Tuesday and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A wildfire continues to burn as its red glow is reflected on the beach Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Ventura, Calif. Raked by ferocious Santa Ana winds, explosive wildfires northwest of Los Angeles and in the city's foothills burned a psychiatric hospital and scores of homes Tuesday and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A firefighter stands on a hillside scorched by a wildfire Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles. A dangerous new wildfire erupted in the tony Bel Air area of Los Angeles early Wednesday as firefighters battled three other destructive blazes across Southern California. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A firefighter stands on a hillside scorched by a wildfire Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles. A dangerous new wildfire erupted in the tony Bel Air area of Los Angeles early Wednesday as firefighters battled three other destructive blazes across Southern California. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A Los Angeles County firefighter pulls a hose to protect a house during wildfire in the Lake View Terrace area of Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
A Los Angeles County firefighter pulls a hose to protect a house during wildfire in the Lake View Terrace area of Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Firefighters put out a wildfire burning in an orchard Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Santa Paula, Calif. Raked by ferocious Santa Ana winds, explosive wildfires northwest of Los Angeles and in the city's foothills burned a psychiatric hospital and scores of homes and other structures Tuesday and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Firefighters put out a wildfire burning in an orchard Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Santa Paula, Calif. Raked by ferocious Santa Ana winds, explosive wildfires northwest of Los Angeles and in the city's foothills burned a psychiatric hospital and scores of homes and other structures Tuesday and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Smoke rises behind a leveled apartment complex as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Over 100 structures have burned so far in Ventura County, officials said.  (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Smoke rises behind a leveled apartment complex as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Over 100 structures have burned so far in Ventura County, officials said. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
An apartment complex burns as a wildfire rages in Ventura, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
An apartment complex burns as a wildfire rages in Ventura, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Flames consume a home on Via Arroyo as a wildfire rages in Ventura, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Flames consume a home on Via Arroyo as a wildfire rages in Ventura, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Greg Smith stands amid the ruins of his home after the Thomas fire swept through Ventura, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Daniel Dreifuss via AP)
Greg Smith stands amid the ruins of his home after the Thomas fire swept through Ventura, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Daniel Dreifuss via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Firefighters finally eked out progress on the titanic task of cutting fire lines around one of the biggest blazes in California history.

As the fire straddling Santa Barbara and Ventura counties entered its 10th day, crews had carved containment lines around one-quarter of it.

But the wildfire still raged Tuesday, threatening thousands of homes and stranding tens of thousands of evacuees.

The so-called Thomas fire, one of several burning around the state, has burned over 900 structures, at least 700 of them homes. And it has stretched across nearly 370 square miles (958 sq. kilometers) of territory, making it the fifth largest in state history.

Elsewhere, fire officials announced that a cooking fire at a homeless encampment sparked a blaze last week that destroyed six homes in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Arson investigators determined that the so-called Skirball fire near the world-famous Getty museum was started by an illegal fire at a camp near a freeway underpass, city fire Capt. Erik Scott said.

The camp was empty when firefighters found it but people apparently had been sleeping and cooking there for at least several days, he said.

Back at the largest of the wildfires, firefighters protected foothill homes while the fire grew mostly into forest land, Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason said.

Red Flag warnings for fire danger due to Santa Ana winds and a critical lack of moisture were extended into the week, with a possible increase in gusts Thursday into Friday.

Evacuations continued for the seaside enclaves of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria and the inland agricultural town of Fillmore.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Eric Burdon and his wife, Marianna, of Ojai were among the people who fled the smoke Tuesday. Last week, Burdon wrote on Facebook about having to flee and returning temporarily to find their home still standing with ashes all around.

“A week like this gives you the perspective that life is what truly matters,” he wrote.

A photo accompanying the post showed his handprint and signature written in ashes.

Residents near a Carpinteria avocado orchard said the trees could end up saving their homes.

“You have a thick layer of leaves underneath the bottom and they are watered regularly, so it's like a sponge,” Jeff Dreyer, who lives nearby, told KEYT-TV. “So the fire gets to the sponge full of water and it slows it down.”

Officials handed out masks to those who stayed behind in Montecito, an exclusive community about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from Los Angeles that's home to stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bridges and Drew Barrymore. Actor Rob Lowe was among residents who evacuated over the weekend.

___

AP reporter John Antczak contributed to this report.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me