Southern California on fire: What you need to know

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Updated: Dec. 18, 10:00 am

The Thomas Fire continues to grow, becoming the third largest fire in the California history. The blaze forced new evacuations over the weekend, as it reached Montecito.

There are more than 8,500 firefighters working to contain the blaze. One firefighter has been killed. Cal Fire identified the San Diego-based firefighter as Cory Iverson.

The blaze began on December 4 and has burned more than 270,000 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, threatening thousands of structures and forcing hundreds of thousands of evacuations.

The high winds and dry weather has made it particularly challenging to put out the Thomas Fire, which was one of several burning in Southern California.

If you think it feels apocalyptic, you’re not alone. Speaking to KCRW’s Press Play Monday, Jet Propulsion Laboratory climate expert Bill Patzert laid out the extreme climate conditions that have made the fires burn so strongly.

The Thomas Fire was one of several burning in Southern California. The others have either been extinguished or are under control. Here’s a list:

  • Ventura: 270,00 acres, 45 percent contained.
  • Creek Fire San Fernando Valley: 15,619 acres, 98 percent contained.   
  • Rye Fire near Six Flags Magic Mountain: 6,049 acres, extinguished
  • Skirball Fire: 422 acres, 100 percent contained
  • Liberty Fire: 300 acres, 100 percent contained.  
  • Lilac fire,  San Diego County: 4,100 acres, 100 percent contained

Here’s a map of fires across the region