U.S. Thomas Fire contained by half but likely to break record

Updated 2017-12-19 13:00:17 Xinhua

Thomas Fire, raging in the Southern California of the United States for 14 straight days, has been contained by 50 percent, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) announced Monday evening.

In a few days, firefighters managed to reduce the blaze by 50 percent and will take advantage of better conditions in the next two days to do more, Mark Brown, an operations section chief for Cal Fire, told reporters on a daily briefing.

Meteorologists also see weaker winds, cooler temperatures and the rise of humidity through Tuesday.

The overpowering Thomas fire has already claimed two lives, and caused more than 104,000 to flee their homes while destroying 1,313 structures. More than 8,500 firefighters battled at the front lines, racking up a cost of roughly 124 million U.S. dollars, according to Cal Fire.

Ventura County Fir Department's twitter said Monday that some fire crew from other states are beginning to return to their home departments, while Reaper drones of U.S. Air Force remain over the mountain area, providing information to firefighters.

For the past 14 days, the fire has scorched 271,000 acres (1,096.7 square km), becoming California's third largest wildfire on record since 1932.

Only two fires have burned more acreage in California so far, Cedar Fire in 2003 and Rush Fire in 2012, which burned 273,246 (1,105.8 square km) and 271,911 (1,100.4 square km), respectively.

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