Thomas Fire now 5th largest fire in California history

(KGTV) - The massive Thomas Fire enters its second week and remains a threat to the Santa Barbara County area Monday as Santa Ana winds are expected to make the firefighting effort a challenge.

At 234,200 acres burned, the Thomas Fire is considered the fifth largest fire in California's history and the biggest in Ventura County history. The blaze is 20 percent contained as of Monday morning.

The fire began Dec. 4 in the Santa Paula area of Ventura County, quickly spreading throughout the county and then burning into Santa Barbara County four days later.

RELATED: Thomas Fire Interactive Map

Nearly 95,000 people in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties have been forced to evacuate, officials told CNN.

The University of California, Santa Barbara is not threatened, campus officials said Monday. Final exams have been rescheduled for January.


LATEST THOMAS FIRE NUMBERS

Acres & containment: 234,200 acres, 20% contained as of Tuesday afternoon; Cal Fire estimates the cost to fight the fire at about $48 million.

Damages: 889 structures destroyed, 187 damaged. Officials say at least 18,000 structures are still being threatened.

Evacuations: Latest Santa Barbara County information | Latest Ventura County information

Personnel: 6,397 personnel involved in firefighting effort.

Equipment: 856 fire engines, 27 helicopters, 48 water tenders, 67 dozers, 113 crews.

CNN meteorologists say wind conditions will continue to be a factor in battling the fire, but gusts could decrease into Tuesday. A Red Flag warning for Los Angeles and Ventura counties will extend through Monday evening.

RELATED: Crews make progress in fighting Lilac Fire in San Diego

One person has died during the Thomas Fire, but authorities say the deceased woman was killed in a vehicle crash as she fled the blaze.

Experts say California's fires are collectively burning an area larger than New York City and Boston combined.


CNN contributed to this report

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