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Thomas fire (Ventura/Santa Barbara Co.) rages amid longest red flag warning on record

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by Joseph Serna, Brittny Mejia  Dec 15 2017 read full LA Times article here

As crews battling the deadly Thomas fire girded for a difficult weekend of firefighting, Los Angeles and Ventura counties ended their 12th consecutive day of red flag fire warnings Friday — the longest sustained period of fire weather warnings on record.

“We put out plenty of red flag warnings, but we haven’t seen them out 12 days in a row. That’s unusual,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Curt Kaplan. “This has been the longest duration event that we have had a red flag warning out without any breaks.”…

…Even when forecasters say the winds will blow south, swirling gusts at lower elevations could drive the blaze in another direction, Olivas said. The lack of uniformity to the winds in the forest north of Santa Barbara is what makes fighting a fire there so difficult, he said.

The Thomas fire has destroyed more than 900 structures in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties since it began Dec. 4 in Santa Paula. In its first day, the fire spread southwest, toward Ventura, and northwest, eventually hugging Ojai before pushing to the Santa Barbara coast.

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