Nevada County firefighters help battle third-largest fire in state history | SierraSun.com

Nevada County firefighters help battle third-largest fire in state history

Matthew Pera
mpera@theunion.com

Crews from Nevada County fire departments are assisting in the effort to contain the Thomas Fire, which, according to Cal Fire, had burned more than 270,000 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties as of Monday afternoon, Dec. 18.

Large portions of the Ojai Valley School in Ventura County were destroyed this month at the onset of the Thomas Fire.

According to Craig Floyd, head of the school’s upper campus, firefighters from the Rough and Ready and North San Juan fire departments were checking on spot fires around campus after the initial blaze settled and they offered to take down a sign that was one of the only remaining intact pieces of a destroyed building.

Floyd thanked the firefighters and snapped a photo to remember the ominous occasion.

The fire has burned more than 1,000 structures in communities northwest of Los Angeles, including at least 750 homes. Some 18,000 more residences are still threatened. The 423-square-mile blaze, the third largest in state history, was 50 percent contained as of press time.

Crews trying to corral the enormous wildfire hope to take advantage of a two-day window of calmer winds before potentially dangerous gusts return at mid-week, officials said Monday.

The cause of the Thomas Fire remains under investigation. So far, firefighting costs have surpassed $117 million.

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— The Associated Press contributed to this story