Powerful Winds That Fanned Thomas Fire Expected to Return to SoCal

Humboldt County firefighters Lonnie Risling, left, and Jimmy McHaffie, right, spray down smoldering fire underneath the rubble of a home that was destroyed by the Thomas Fire, in Montecito on Dec. 17, 2017. (Credit: Marcus Yam/ Los Angeles)

Humboldt County firefighters Lonnie Risling, left, and Jimmy McHaffie, right, spray down smoldering fire underneath the rubble of a home that was destroyed by the Thomas Fire, in Montecito on Dec. 17, 2017. (Credit: Marcus Yam/ Los Angeles)

Powerful winds that have driven the ferocious Thomas fire for more than two weeks are expected to return Wednesday afternoon, testing the progress firefighters have made in recent days against the massive blaze.

The fire has burned 272,000 acres — making it the second-largest California wildfire since the Great Depression — and was 60% contained as of Wednesday morning. However, a new wave of winds and dry conditions will complicate fire fighting efforts.

Northerly winds of 15 to 30 mph are expected, with gusts up to 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service. In some mountaintop canyons, isolated gusts could hit 60 mph.

“Unfortunately, it continues,” said Joe Sirard, a meteorologist with the weather service in Oxnard. “It is getting pretty ridiculous.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com. 

The Thomas Fire burn area is shown in a Los Angeles Times graphic as of morning Dec. 19, 2017.

The Thomas Fire burn area is shown in a Los Angeles Times graphic as of morning Dec. 19, 2017.