Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Firefighter dies battling California blaze

Thomas Fire firefighters Firefighters at the Thomas Fire. The massive blaze has claimed the life of Cory Iverson a Cal Fire veteran from Escondido
Glenn Montgomery | 16 December, 2017, 07:46

Firefighters made some progress on Wednesday on corralling the fire, which continued to spread mostly into national forest land. Cal Fire officials say while the Thomas fire grew to 238, 500 acres, firefighters now have the blaze 30 percent contained.

I am very saddened to report that a firefighter fatality has occurred on the Thomas Incident.

Evacuation centers have been placed at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the Ventura County Fairgrounds at Miners Building and the Oxnard College Gymnasium.

The firefighter was identified as 32-year-old Cory Iverson from Cal Fire San Diego.

A firefighter was killed battling the monstrous Thomas Fire in Southern California, officials said on Thursday.

The 242,500-acre blaze, which authorities now describe as 30 percent contained, has affected more than 94,600 people and destroyed 970 homes.

The state since July 1 has burned 13 square miles (37 square kilometers) of surface fuels such as dry needles, leaves and bark that accumulated over the years and can easily ignite, turning forests into powder kegs, Berlant said.

That fire burned down 157 structures, most in its destructive first hours. Iverson had been with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection since 2009. The cost associated with the damage of the blaze is $68.7 million.

Some evacuations were lifted and the risk to the agricultural city of Fillmore was diminishing. The current plan moved forward following a recent agreement between state and federal agencies along with environmental, logging and recreational interests.

But some have turned catastrophic, including a 2000 fire set by U.S. Park Service officials in New Mexico's Bandelier National Monument. More than 400 families lost their homes. En route, crews reportedly saw a large column of smoke estimated to be about 2 to 5 acres in size. That spot is now held by 2003's Cedar Fire in San Diego, which burned more than 2,800 homes and buildings and grew to more than 270,000 acres. They also question their efficiency because the wildfires are on the rise even though controlled burns have increased.

The Thomas Fire has caused evacuations throughout Ventura County, including orders in Fillmore about 25 miles from Santa Clarita.

"We have initiated a serious accident review team to look into the circumstances behind this tragic loss", Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said at an afternoon news conference. That means weather conditions with cooler temperatures, high humidity and calm winds, he said.

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