Fire in southern California threatening another city

Fire in southern California threatening another city
A shopkeeper waits for help in front of burning shops in the eastern city of Lahore, February 24, 2005. A huge fire erupted in a commercial district of the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, killing one person and gutting at least 400 shops, police said. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza ZH/dbp/MD

Ojai (US): A fierce wildfire raged on north of Los Angeles today, threatening other towns after already charring vast swaths of land, but other blazes were largely contained after burning for days.

The so-called Thomas fire is only 15 per cent contained, now threatening the city of Santa Barbara and the nearby coastal town of Carpinteria, and is on track to become one of the worst wildfires in California history. It has already destroyed 583 structures and scorched 155,000 acres (60,000 hectares), the authorities say.

A photo posted by Santa Barbara police this morning showed a wall of flames several yards (meters) high very close to buildings in Carpinteria.

Evacuation orders were issued overnight for some parts of Carpinteria close to Los Padres National Forest, where fire was raging.

Conditions remained very dry in southern California, according to the National Weather Service, but strong winds that have fuelled the fires for much of the week have eased significantly.

At least five other blazes in southern California are now largely contained, the state agency Calfire said.

After a five-day siege, some Californians were finally able to return home to inspect the damage wrought by the wildfires, which together have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee and destroyed more than 850 structures, including multimillion-dollar mansions.

Despite the intensity of the fires that raged on multiple fronts — stretching from areas north of Los Angeles down to the San Diego region — authorities have reported only one fatality.

US President Donald Trump has issued a state of emergency for California, authorising the release of federal funds.