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Crews continue to battle Thomas Fire on Christmas Day

Crews continue to battle Thomas Fire on Christmas Day”

Below, a look at some of what firefighters have faced - from monster flames to the kindness of strangers - during the battle against the Thomas fire and other December blazes.

The fire had burned through 281,620 acres land by Sunday, surpassing the “Cedar” fire of 2003, that killed 15 people, destroyed 2,820 structures and charred 273,246 acres inSan Diego County. The estimated containment date is January 7, 2018, according to Cal Fire. Firefighters are continuing to strengthen containment lines near communities, however there are still hotspots in the Bear Heaven area. The steep, rugged terrain in the region is hard to access on the ground, leading firefighters to primarily combat the blaze by utilizing water dropped by aircraft.

"I don't see that area being contained anytime soon", Oman said.

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After multiple wind events during the previous week, the National Weather Service is forecasting mostly sunny weather for Christmas Day and Tuesday, with calm winds around 5 miles per hour. Around 30 oil seep fires have ignited in Upper Ojai and continue to burn, causing air quality issues in the area mixed with ash and smoke from the Thomas Fire. "Even though fuels in the fire area remain critically dry, with shorter days and lack of significant winds, no forward progress of the fire is expected".

While crews worked to contain the fire, video messages posted to the official Los Padres National Forest Twitter account showed Thomas Fire personnel speaking to family members and wishing viewers a Merry Christmas.

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