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California fire now second-largest in state history

Firefighters say decreasing winds and higher humidity are helping them but brush in the area remains tinder-dry

AP | PTI  |  Los Angeles 

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Wildfires. Photo: Reuters

A wildfire that's burned hundreds of homes in coastal mountains northwest of is now the second-largest blaze in history.

State officials say the 425-acre Thomas burning in and counties is slightly larger than the 2012 Rush in

The fire, which is only 55 percent contained last night, is only about 1,200 acres smaller than the state's largest That blaze, the 2003 Cedar in San Diego, killed 15 people.

A firefighter and a fleeing civilian have died in the Thomas that broke out on December 4. It continues to threaten 18,000 homes and other buildings.

Firefighters say decreasing winds and higher humidity are helping them but brush in the area remains tinder-dry.

Crews taking advantage of calm winds will perform a controlled burn to remove swaths of dry brush as they build containment lines around Southern California's enormous wildfire.

spokesman said yesterday that officials will remove potential fuels on the fire's northern edge so that when up again today "there'll be nothing left to burn."

He says residents near the city of could see new smoke from the controlled burn.

The blaze northwest of is the third largest in state history. It's 50 per cent contained. Some evacuations were lifted Monday and Crawford says more residents are being allowed to return yesterday.

However he cautions that homes are still threatened in parts of County, where firefighters plan an aggressive air attack on stubborn flames.

First Published: Wed, December 20 2017. 08:55 IST
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