The Thomas fire in Ventura County and Santa Barbara County was still blazing strong as of Tuesday morning, while Southern California’s other wildfires were largely contained.
The Los Angeles Times notes that the Thomas fire has reached 231,700 acres, with only 20% contained. That makes it the fifth-largest fire in the state’s recorded history.
One of the reasons the Thomas fire has been particularly difficult to fight, the Times notes, is the topography of the region:
[T]he very qualities that make its wilderness a beacon for hikers and the dramatic backdrop to Santa Barbara also make it a firefighters’ nightmare. The mountain ranges run east-west — in line with dry winds from the interior. Deep canyons crease country that is twisted and folded by nature’s forces. There are few places where fire crews can take a stand.
In such difficult terrain, Cal Fire officials said they basically have no way to get crews on the ground to directly attack the western front of the Thomas fire.
Firefighters from other parts of Southern California who had just finished battling blazes in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties were re-deployed north to help with the Thomas fire, according to the Orange County Register. Firefighters from other states are also helping to fight the massive fire.
Southern California Public Radio reports: “The fire has destroyed 869 buildings, according to the latest totals. There are 18,000 structures that remain under threat. … According to earlier estimates, the total cost of the fire to date is more than $38 million.”
Thus far, firefighters have been able to keep the fire at bay on the outskirts of the gateway towns near Santa Barbara, though many residents decided to leave as a precaution, and as smoke and ash inundated the area.
There are growing concerns about farm workers in the region who continued working as fires raged nearby, allegedly without masks or protective gear, according to the Santa Barbara Independent.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.