1 The Thomas fire, the third-largest blaze in California history, was 50 per cent contained as at Monday,’’ the Ventura County fire department said.
2 The department said fire crews were finally gaining the upper hand on the raging wildfire that has scorched the mountains north of Los Angeles for the past two weeks.
3 Fire-fighters were able to take advantage of what forecasters say will be a two-day window of calmer winds.
4 The department said strong winds and high humidity are expected to return to the area on Wednesday.
5 Since it erupted on Dec. 4, the fire north-west of Los Angeles has turned to ash some 1,000 square km, destroyed 1,032 structures and forced mass evacuations.
6 One fire-fighter was killed battling the blaze.
7 Dry conditions, warm temperatures and gusty Santa Ana winds that blow out from Southern California’s inland deserts towards the coast have fuelled a string of fires in the region over the past several weeks.