Biggest California wildfire takes life of firefighter

The biggest wildfire that has scorched more than 98,000 hectares in Southern California resulted in the death of a firefighter during the rescue work.

Ken Pimlott, chief of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection of California, said in a statement on Thursday that the firefighter from the San Diego unit, whose identity remains unknown, reports Efe news. This marks the second victim killed by the powerful and still active wildfire named Thomas after a 70-year-old woman in Ventura died in a car accident while trying to escape the flames.

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According to the latest data released, the Thomas fire has razed over 98,000 hectares and firefighters have only been able to contain 30 per cent of it so far. About 1,000 buildings have been destroyed in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties by the blaze, which was fanned by the intensity of the Santa Ana winds.

Around 8,000 emergency service officers are currently fighting the flames. The National Weather Service has maintained a “red flag” alert in the affected area due to high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds, which may cause the fire to spread. The Thomas fire, which forced the evacuation of over 100,000 people, is one of the five largest wildfires in the history of California.