Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Yahoo News Photo Staff

A firefighter died Thursday while working a colossal wildfire burning in coastal mountains northwest of Los Angeles that has become the fourth largest in California history.

Cory Iverson was an engineer with a state fire engine strike team based in San Diego. Iverson, 32, is survived by his pregnant wife and a 2-year-old daughter, said Fire Chief Ken Pimlott of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Iverson had been with the state since 2009.

On Thursday afternoon, dozens of police and fire vehicles escorted a hearse carrying Iverson’s flag-draped body to the county medical examiner’s office in Ventura.

It was the second death linked to the fire. A 70-year-old woman was killed in a car crash while evacuating as the fire raged last week. Her body was found inside the wrecked car along an evacuation route.

A return of gusty Santa Ana winds brought renewed activity to inland portions of the so-called Thomas Fire straddling coastal Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

Authorities said it now covered 379 square miles (982 square kilometers). That surpassed a blaze that burned inland Santa Barbara County a decade ago.

Some evacuations were lifted and the risk to the agricultural city of Fillmore was diminishing. But coastal enclaves to the west remained under threat as crews protected hillside homes in Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria. (AP)

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<p>Firefighters continue to battle the Thomas fire , a wildfire near Fillmore, Calif., Dec. 14, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Firefighters continue to battle the Thomas fire , a wildfire near Fillmore, Calif., Dec. 14, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters)

<p>A procession of firefighting vehicles passes through Santa Paula, while carrying the body of a fellow firefighter who was killed today battling the Thomas wildfire near Fillmore, Calif., Dec. 14, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

A procession of firefighting vehicles passes through Santa Paula, while carrying the body of a fellow firefighter who was killed today battling the Thomas wildfire near Fillmore, Calif., Dec. 14, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters)

<p>Emergency personnel and residents salute as a procession of firefighting vehicles passes through Santa Paula, while carrying the body of a fellow firefighter who was killed today battling the Thomas wildfire near Fillmore, Calif., Dec. 14, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Emergency personnel and residents salute as a procession of firefighting vehicles passes through Santa Paula, while carrying the body of a fellow firefighter who was killed today battling the Thomas wildfire near Fillmore, Calif., Dec. 14, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters)

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<p>Firemen clear a fire break and lay ten thousand feet of hose across a canyon from atop Camino Cielo down to Gibraltar to make a stand should the fire move in that direction Wednesday Dec. 13, 2017, in the Santa Ynez Mountains area of Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Firemen clear a fire break and lay ten thousand feet of hose across a canyon from atop Camino Cielo down to Gibraltar to make a stand should the fire move in that direction Wednesday Dec. 13, 2017, in the Santa Ynez Mountains area of Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)

<p>A dozer from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department clears a fire break across a canyon from atop Camino Cielo down to Gibraltar to make a stand should the fire move in that direction, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, in the Santa Ynez Mountains area of Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

A dozer from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department clears a fire break across a canyon from atop Camino Cielo down to Gibraltar to make a stand should the fire move in that direction, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, in the Santa Ynez Mountains area of Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)

<p>Flames from the Thomas Fire burn in the hills of Montecito, California, east of Santa Barbara, Dec. 11, 2017. (Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Flames from the Thomas Fire burn in the hills of Montecito, California, east of Santa Barbara, Dec. 11, 2017. (Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>A girl walks past a nursery just south of Carpinteria High School on HWY 192 (Photo: Santa Barbara News-Press via ZUMA Wire) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

A girl walks past a nursery just south of Carpinteria High School on HWY 192 (Photo: Santa Barbara News-Press via ZUMA Wire)

<p>With Montecito, Calif. and the Pacific Ocean in the distance, a helicopter hovers over a reservoir to fill a bucket with water as the fight against a wildfire continues Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. (Photo: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

With Montecito, Calif. and the Pacific Ocean in the distance, a helicopter hovers over a reservoir to fill a bucket with water as the fight against a wildfire continues Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. (Photo: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)

<p>Two firefighters work at a fire spot in Carpinteria, Calif., Dec. 11, 2017. (Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Two firefighters work at a fire spot in Carpinteria, Calif., Dec. 11, 2017. (Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire)

<p>Dan Bellaart and his wife Mary McEwen comfort each other in the back yard of their home that includes an avocado ranch on 9 acres of land on Toro Canyon Rd. as the Thomas fire burns in the background on Dec., 11, 2017 in Montecito, Calif. They have lived here since 2002. (Photo: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Dan Bellaart and his wife Mary McEwen comfort each other in the back yard of their home that includes an avocado ranch on 9 acres of land on Toro Canyon Rd. as the Thomas fire burns in the background on Dec., 11, 2017 in Montecito, Calif. They have lived here since 2002. (Photo: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

<p>Firefighters knock down flames as they advance on homes atop Shepherd Mesa Road in Carpinteria, Calif on Dec. 10, 2017. (Photo: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Firefighters knock down flames as they advance on homes atop Shepherd Mesa Road in Carpinteria, Calif on Dec. 10, 2017. (Photo: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)

<p>County fire hand crew member Nikolas Abele keeps an eye on a hillside for any stray embers during a firing operation in Santa Monica Canyon in Carpinteria, Calif., Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

County fire hand crew member Nikolas Abele keeps an eye on a hillside for any stray embers during a firing operation in Santa Monica Canyon in Carpinteria, Calif., Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP)

<p>Fire fighters attack the Thomas Fire’s north flank with backfires as they continue to fight a massive wildfire north of Los Angeles, near Ojai , Calif., Dec. 9, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Fire fighters attack the Thomas Fire’s north flank with backfires as they continue to fight a massive wildfire north of Los Angeles, near Ojai , Calif., Dec. 9, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters)

<p>An aircraft drops fire retardant as firefighters take advantage of light winds to attack the Lilac Fire, a fast moving wild fire in Bonsall, Calif., Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

An aircraft drops fire retardant as firefighters take advantage of light winds to attack the Lilac Fire, a fast moving wild fire in Bonsall, Calif., Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters)

<p>A hillside glows with embers as the Thomas fire burns through Los Padres National Forest near Ojai, Calif., on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

A hillside glows with embers as the Thomas fire burns through Los Padres National Forest near Ojai, Calif., on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP)

<p>Fire crews search for hot spots among destroyed homes in the Rancho Monserate Country Club community Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, in Fallbrook, Calif. (Photo: Gregory Bull/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Fire crews search for hot spots among destroyed homes in the Rancho Monserate Country Club community Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, in Fallbrook, Calif. (Photo: Gregory Bull/AP)

<p>A firefighter battles a wildfire in Ojai, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

A firefighter battles a wildfire in Ojai, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP)

<p>Palm trees sway in a gust of wind as a firefighter carries a water hose while battling a wildfire at Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Palm trees sway in a gust of wind as a firefighter carries a water hose while battling a wildfire at Faria State Beach in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP)

<p>Flames consume a home as a wildfire burns in Ojai, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Flames consume a home as a wildfire burns in Ojai, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP)

<p>A person bicycles as a section of the Thomas Fire burns on a bluff on Dec. 7, 2017 in La Conchita, Calif. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

A person bicycles as a section of the Thomas Fire burns on a bluff on Dec. 7, 2017 in La Conchita, Calif. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

<p>Jeff Lipscomb assures his daughter Rachel Lipscomb, 11, that everything will be ok and that the family will pull through, as they survey their destroyed home after a brush fire on Dec. 6, 2017 in Ventura, Calif. (Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Jeff Lipscomb assures his daughter Rachel Lipscomb, 11, that everything will be ok and that the family will pull through, as they survey their destroyed home after a brush fire on Dec. 6, 2017 in Ventura, Calif. (Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

<p>A motorists on Highway 101 watches flames from the Thomas fire leap above the roadway north of Ventura, Calif., on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

A motorists on Highway 101 watches flames from the Thomas fire leap above the roadway north of Ventura, Calif., on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP)

<p>Members of the Reinhardt family sort through the remains of their family home after the Thomas wildfire swept through Ventura, California on Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Members of the Reinhardt family sort through the remains of their family home after the Thomas wildfire swept through Ventura, California on Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>The Thomas Fire burns along the Northbound 101 freeway on Dec. 6, 2017 in Ventura, Calif. (Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

The Thomas Fire burns along the Northbound 101 freeway on Dec. 6, 2017 in Ventura, Calif. (Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

<p>A mansion that survived a wildfire sits on a hilltop in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

A mansion that survived a wildfire sits on a hilltop in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP)

<p>A family wears face masks as they walk through the smoke filled streets after the Thomas wildfire swept through Ventura, California on Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

A family wears face masks as they walk through the smoke filled streets after the Thomas wildfire swept through Ventura, California on Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Heavy smoke covers Ventura as flames reach the coast during the Thomas wildfire near Ventura, California on Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Heavy smoke covers Ventura as flames reach the coast during the Thomas wildfire near Ventura, California on Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>The Thomas Fire reaches the Northbound 101 freeway north of Ventura Wednesday threatening beachfront homes on December 6, 2017 in Ventura, Calif. (Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

The Thomas Fire reaches the Northbound 101 freeway north of Ventura Wednesday threatening beachfront homes on December 6, 2017 in Ventura, Calif. (Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

<p>Los Angeles firefighters battle to contain flames to a home on fire and prevent the fire’s spread to adjoining properties in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Reed Saxon/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Los Angeles firefighters battle to contain flames to a home on fire and prevent the fire’s spread to adjoining properties in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Reed Saxon/AP)

<p>Vehicles pass beside a wall of flames on the 101 highway as it reaches the coast during the Thomas wildfire near Ventura, California on Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Vehicles pass beside a wall of flames on the 101 highway as it reaches the coast during the Thomas wildfire near Ventura, California on Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Bree Laubacher pauses while sifting through rubble at her Ventura, Calif., home following a wildfire on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. A barbecue smoker and her son’s batting cage survived the blaze. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Bree Laubacher pauses while sifting through rubble at her Ventura, Calif., home following a wildfire on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. A barbecue smoker and her son’s batting cage survived the blaze. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP)

<p>Homes stand along the beach as the sun is visible through thick smoke from a wildfire Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Ventura, Calif. (Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Homes stand along the beach as the sun is visible through thick smoke from a wildfire Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Ventura, Calif. (Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP)

<p>Firefighters battle a Santa Ana wind-driven brush fire called the Thomas Fire near Ventura, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Firefighters battle a Santa Ana wind-driven brush fire called the Thomas Fire near Ventura, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters)

<p>Michael and Vonea McQuillam stand beside their house that was burnt to the ground during the Thomas wildfire in Ventura, Calif., on Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Michael and Vonea McQuillam stand beside their house that was burnt to the ground during the Thomas wildfire in Ventura, Calif., on Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>A firefighter puts water on a palm tree in the back of a house on Rancho Vista Lane in Santa Paula, Calif., on Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Neal Waters via ZUMA Wire) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

A firefighter puts water on a palm tree in the back of a house on Rancho Vista Lane in Santa Paula, Calif., on Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Neal Waters via ZUMA Wire)

<p>Smoke from the Creek wildfire in the San Gabriel Mountains, the second range behind the Hollywood Hills, home of the Hollywood sign, looms up over Los Angeles Tuesday morning, Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Reed Saxon/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Smoke from the Creek wildfire in the San Gabriel Mountains, the second range behind the Hollywood Hills, home of the Hollywood sign, looms up over Los Angeles Tuesday morning, Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Reed Saxon/AP)

<p>Flames from a wildfire advance down a hillside near the Springs of Life Church in Casitas Springs, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Flames from a wildfire advance down a hillside near the Springs of Life Church in Casitas Springs, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP)

<p>James and Josie Ralstin carry belongings from their Ventura, Calif., home as flames from a wildfire consume another residence on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

James and Josie Ralstin carry belongings from their Ventura, Calif., home as flames from a wildfire consume another residence on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Noah Berger/AP)

<p>Firefighters work to put out a blaze burning homes early Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Ventura, Calif. (Photo: Ryan Cullom/Ventura County Fire Department via AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Firefighters work to put out a blaze burning homes early Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Ventura, Calif. (Photo: Ryan Cullom/Ventura County Fire Department via AP)

<p>A house engulfed in flames as the Creek Fire burns in Los Angeles, California on Dec. 5, 2017. The raging fire fueled by strong Santa Ana winds has burned more than 11,000 acres and caused the evacuation of 115,000 residents. (Photo: Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

A house engulfed in flames as the Creek Fire burns in Los Angeles, California on Dec. 5, 2017. The raging fire fueled by strong Santa Ana winds has burned more than 11,000 acres and caused the evacuation of 115,000 residents. (Photo: Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

<p>Local residents react as numerous homes burn on a hillside during a wind driven wildfire in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Local residents react as numerous homes burn on a hillside during a wind driven wildfire in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters)

<p>John Bain and Brandon Baker take cover from the embers as they try to help stop a fire from burning a stranger’s home on December 5, 2017 in Ventura, Calif. (Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

John Bain and Brandon Baker take cover from the embers as they try to help stop a fire from burning a stranger’s home on December 5, 2017 in Ventura, Calif. (Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

<p>Flames rise near a home as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Jae Hong/AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Flames rise near a home as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Jae Hong/AP)

<p>A local man tries to cope and prays during an early-morning Creek Fire that broke out in the Kagel Canyon area in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, in Sylmar, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

A local man tries to cope and prays during an early-morning Creek Fire that broke out in the Kagel Canyon area in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, in Sylmar, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins/Reuters)

<p>A firefighter stands under windswept palm trees as he hoses down smoldering debris in Ventura, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Daniel Dreifuss via AP) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

A firefighter stands under windswept palm trees as he hoses down smoldering debris in Ventura, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: Daniel Dreifuss via AP)

<p>Smoke rises into the night sky as strong winds push the Thomas Fire across thousands of acres near Santa Paula, Calif., Dec. 4, 2017. (Photo: David McNew/Reuters) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Smoke rises into the night sky as strong winds push the Thomas Fire across thousands of acres near Santa Paula, Calif., Dec. 4, 2017. (Photo: David McNew/Reuters)

<p>Embers blow from a tree shortly before it fell down near burned cars as strong winds push the Thomas Fire across thousands of acres near Santa Paula, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: David McNew/Reuters) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Embers blow from a tree shortly before it fell down near burned cars as strong winds push the Thomas Fire across thousands of acres near Santa Paula, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. (Photo: David McNew/Reuters)

<p>Firefighters battle a santa ana wind-driven brush fire called the Thomas fire that exploded to 31,00 acres with zero percent containment overnight Monday into early Tuesday morning, according to Ventura County fire officials in Santa Paula, Calif., on Dec. 4, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins via ZUMA Wire) </p>
Wildfires in Southern California force thousands to flee

Firefighters battle a santa ana wind-driven brush fire called the Thomas fire that exploded to 31,00 acres with zero percent containment overnight Monday into early Tuesday morning, according to Ventura County fire officials in Santa Paula, Calif., on Dec. 4, 2017. (Photo: Gene Blevins via ZUMA Wire)

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