The massive Thomas fire continued to grow Sunday even after an epic battle to protect homes along the Santa Barbara County coast Saturday proved successful despite intense winds. The third-largest wildfire in modern California history was burning a massive swath from Santa Barbara to Ventura, fueled by intense Santa Ana winds, with gusts topping 70 mph early Sunday in some valley and mountain areas.
The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory in the region. As of Sunday morning, the fire was at 269,000 acres and 40% contained. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said 18,000 structures were threatened. Fire crews were expected to shift their focus from Santa Barbara to Ventura County, where the northern edge of the fire was moving east and red flag conditions were expected to remain in place until Sunday night, officials said. Winds could gust up to 55 mph. READ MORE