PressTV-Fierce winds to intensify as California wildfire grows

California firefighting crews may face strong winds on Thursday that could feed a volatile wildfire which has grown into one of the biggest in state history.

The so-called Thomas Fire overnight grew to the fourth-largest blaze of its kind on record, at 242,500 acres (98,140 hectares) burned, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said in a statement on Thursday morning.

The fire grew larger than the Zaca Fire of 2007, which, like the Thomas Fire, struck Santa Barbara County. The Thomas Fire has also burned parts of neighboring Ventura County.

Cal Fire said on Thursday morning that the Thomas blaze was 30 percent contained, unchanged from Wednesday evening.

The fire threatened the communities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Summerland and Montecito early on Thursday after destroying more than 700 homes since it began on Dec. 4, fire officials said.

“Firefighters will remain engaged in structure defense operations…

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