The Latest: Winds temporarily calm at huge California fire

The Latest: Winds temporarily calm at huge California fire

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a huge wildfire burning in Southern California (all times local):

12:25 p.m.

Calming winds are giving firefighters a chance to gain ground against a huge wildfire in coastal mountains northwest of Los Angeles, but forecasters warn that the respite from gusts will only be temporary.

Red Flag warnings for the critical combination of low humidity and strong winds expired for a swath of Southern California at midmorning Friday, but a new warning is scheduled to go into effect early Saturday in the fire area due to the predicted return of winds.

The so-called Thomas Fire, the fourth-largest in California history, is 35 percent contained after sweeping across more than 394 square miles (1,020 sq. kilometers) of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties since Dec. 4.

Hundreds of homes have been destroyed and one of the thousands of firefighters on the lines was killed Thursday.


7 a.m.

The huge wildfire burning for nearly two weeks northwest of Los Angeles continues to grow.

California fire officials say that as of early Friday the blaze has scorched more than 394 square miles (1,020 sq. kilometers).

The inferno began Dec. 4 in Ventura County and spread into Santa Barbara County, destroying more than 970 homes and other structures as it became the fourth-largest wildfire in California history.

A 32-year-old firefighter working the fire was killed Thursday, but officials haven't released any information about the circumstances.


12:15 a.m.

A 32-year-old firefighter assigned to the largest wildfire burning in Southern California has died.

Officials wouldn't say how Cory Iverson was killed Thursday.

The massive blaze he was working on northwest of Los Angeles has become the fourth-largest in California history. And the dry, windy conditions that helped its spread aren't going away.

Iverson was an engineer with a state fire engine strike team based in San Diego. He is survived by his pregnant wife and a 2-year-old daughter.

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