As California firefighters get ahead of some wildfires, others still rage
By
WATCH: More than 140,000 acres have been burned by wind-fueled flames with winds expected to pick up again through the weekend.

Communities along Southern California's coast were still seeing fresh evacuations on Sunday as the seemingly unstoppable Thomas fire, fueled by plentiful brush and shifty Santa Ana winds Several swaths of the city of Carpinteria were placed under mandatory evacuation overnight and into Sunday, fire officials confirmed, as the blaze continues to threaten structures.

The Thomas fire, which since Monday has been battled by 4,400 firefighters and has torched 173,000 acres, remains only 15 percent contained.

One firefighter suffered an injured leg while battling the Thomas fire, Cal Fire officials confirmed to ABC News.

It has also knocked out power lines to thousands and Cal Fire told The Associated Press that they classified it as the 10th largest wildfire, and the 13th most destructive in California history.

There was also limited refuge for the evacuees as parts of Ventura, Ojai, Casitas Springs, Santa Paula and Fillmore are still being threatened by blazes, fire officials said.

The news of the fire's continued devastation in the already scorched region comes a day after firefighters across Southern California made dramatic headway in the week's battle against six major wildfires that have dragged the state's fire season well into December.

On Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown surveyed some of the remains of Thomas Fire, which started in Ventura, fire officials said.

The governor said the prolonged fire season is becoming the norm.

"[We're] facing a new reality in the state," he said. "It's a horror and a horror we need to recover from."

He also noted that the years of drought and climate change have caused experts to conclude that "California is burning up."

From here on in California, Brown said, fires are going to be more "intense" and penetrate lives and property.

"Individuals need to come together to make our communities livable," he said.

The breakdown of the blazes and shift in winds gave firefighters in the region much-needed respite.

The newest blazes, the Lilac fire in San Diego County and the Liberty fire in Riverside County, which was 20 percent contained as of Saturday afternoon, are also being fueled by continued Santa Ana winds and low humidity, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Huge smoke clouds rise into the sky at the Thomas fire, Dec. 9, 2017 at Los Padres National Forest in California.

ABC News meteorologist Daniel Manzo said the forecast for those fire-ravaged areas remains serious.

Red flag warnings have remained in effect for much of Southern California with peak wind gusts of 30 to 50 mph. Low relative humidity –- as low as 5 percent -- is likely through this period, as well, Manzo said.

Winds could exceed 50 mph in the mountains east of San Diego, an area that was of particular concern for fire growth on Sunday.

December 9, 2017 - Los Padres National Forest, California, United States: U.S. forest fire crews fight fire with fire as they set off huge backfires to cut off the northern flank of the Thomas fire near Rose Valley recreation area in Los Padres National Forest in California, Dec. 9, 2017.

Winds gusts in Ventura and Los Angeles counties were expected to diminish Sunday afternoon from 60 mph to 45 mph due to an onshore flow beginning to develop, according to Cal Fire's website.

The winds had exceeded 60 mph during the week, causing embers to spread.

Gusts were in the 30 to 50 mph range in San Diego County and 25 mph in Santa Barbara where the evacuations were taking place.

Low humidity around Southern California has staggered in the teens to single digits.

Jeff Rodriquez, left, and his son Casey help a friend move belongings after the Thomas fire destroyed most of the apartment building on North Kalarama in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 8, 2017.

It took 8,500 firefighters to battle the first four large wildfires and then new ones have continued spreading rapidly, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Overall, the six blazes have burned more than 200,000 acres and forced more than 98,000 residents from their homes.

A 70-year-old woman was identified Friday as the first victim of the fires. Virginia Pesola, of Santa Paula, was killed in a car crash as she evacuated Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

The remnants are seen after brush fire swept through residential neighborhoods on Maripoca Highway near Ojai, Calif., Dec. 8, 2017.

The Skirball fire is small, but its threat to heavily populated areas of Los Angeles, including Bel Air, has drawn widespread attention.

All Los Angeles Unified School District schools in the San Fernando Valley and 17 schools on Los Angeles' west side were shuttered last week, citing the poor air quality. At least 265 schools have been closed. UCLA canceled classes during the week because of the Skirball fire.

On Friday, the district announced that all schools will reopen Monday.

Thomas fire

The Thomas fire in Ventura County, the largest of the six blazes, started Monday night as a 50-acre brush fire in foothills east of Santa Paula and grew to 10,000 acres in just four hours, authorities said.

The fire had burned 173,000 acres of land by Sunday morning and was holding at just 15 percent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

More than 98,000 residents were evacuated, and 25,000 structures are threatened by the flames, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

A home burns early Sunday morning, Dec. 10, 2017, off Gobernador Canyon Road in Carpinteria, Calif.

The Thomas Fire has since spread to Santa Barbara County late Thursday, prompting California Gov. Jerry Brown to issue a state of emergency for the county, the third to be designated.

There were 9,000 firefighting personnel on the scene of the massive blaze.

Authorities said 834 structures were destroyed in the blaze and more than 100 were damaged.

Officials were concerned about part of the Thomas Fire heading northeast and threatening a nursing home in Ojai. The 25 residents and staffers there were evacuated as a precaution, authorities said. It's unclear if the seniors have returned to the nursing home or remain evacuated.

Creek fire

The Creek fire, in the Kagel Canyon area above Los Angeles' Sylmar neighborhood, has scorched 15,619 acres of land, destroyed at least 105 buildings and damaged another 70. Over 150,000 residents were evacuated and some 2,500 structures are threatened, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The blaze was 90 percent contained as of Sunday morning, and 1,964 personnel are fighting the flames.

Firefighters knock down flames as they advance on homes atop Shepherd Mesa Road in Carpinteria, Calif., Dec. 10, 2017.

The Creek fire was responsible for the death of almost 40 horses at Rancho Padilla, according to ABC station KABC in Los Angeles. The horses were trapped in a barn that burned to the ground as the owners were evacuated with no warning.

All evacuation orders and warnings were lifted by Saturday morning.

Rye fire

The Rye fire has scorched 6,049 acres in Santa Clarita, west of Valencia. The blaze was 90 percent contained as of Sunday morning, though 5,460 structures are still threatened by the flames, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Firefighters light backfires as they try to contain the Thomas wildfire which continues to burn in Ojai, Calif., Dec. 9, 2017.

Brutal winds that fueled southern California's firestorm finally began to ease Saturday, giving residents and firefighters hope for respite as the destructive toll of multiple blazes came into focus. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTONMARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

About 2,000 residents were evacuated, though mandatory evacuation orders in the area have been lifted.

There were 652 personnel on scene battling the Rye fire Sunday morning.

Skirball fire

The Skirball fire has burned more than 400 acres of land so far, but its proximity to Los Angeles and responsibility for briefly shutting down the infamously crowded 405 Freeway has drawn national attention.

The fire had posed a threat to the acclaimed Getty Center, a museum in western Los Angeles. Officials managed to keep the flames from jumping the 405 freeway and heading east. The blaze was 75 percent contained as of Sunday morning, and firefighters have managed to keep it from breaching containment lines.

A helicopter drops water while trying to keep a wildfire from jumping Santa Ana Road near Ventura, Calif., Dec. 9, 2017.

Six structures were lost in the fire, with an additional 12 damaged. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the flames, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Los Angeles County declared a state of emergency Wednesday afternoon because of the Skirball fire in the city's Bel-Air neighborhood.

Lilac fire

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Friday that flames from the Lilac fire were growing at a "dangerous rate" in San Diego County, where 4,100 acres of land have been burned thus far. At least 182 structures were destroyed and 23 were damaged by the blaze, while an additional 1,500 are threatened.

The fire was 60 percent contained as of Sunday morning.

AlertSanDiego, the region's cellphone emergency alert system, had sent out 23,000 evacuation messages as of Friday morning, including for new evacuations in Oceanside.

Officials said the Lilac fire began late Thursday morning near Fallbrook and had grown to 50 acres in just an hour. Peak gusts had reached 66 mph Thursday afternoon in Pala, California, near the blaze, contributing to the rapid spread of flames.

Four civilians had suffered injuries and were taken to local hospitals, though authorities could not confirm the severity of the injuries.

Gov. Brown declared a state of emergency in San Diego County due to the Lilac fire, his office announced late last week.

Flames burn near power lines in Sycamore Canyon near West Mountain Drive in Montecito, Calif., Dec. 16, 2017. Photo Credit: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP
This undated photo obtained from the Santa Barbara County Fire, shows flames from the Thomas Fire near homes. Photo Credit: Handout/AFP/Getty Images
Cal Fire captain Jason Novak observes fire behavior during a firing operation at the Thomas Fire above Los Padres National Forest, Calif., Dec. 13, 2017. Novak is part of the Cal Fire Lake Napa Unit.

Photo Credit: Stuart Palley for ABC News

A Cal Fire firefighter observes fire behavior during a firing operation in the Los Padres National Forest, Calif., Dec. 13, 2017.

Photo Credit: Stuart Palley for ABC News

Wildfire flames burn on a hillside from the Thomas Fire near Montecito, Calif., Dec. 12, 2017.



More than 6,000 fire personnel are still battling the Thomas fire, which has singed more th... Photo Credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Reuters

A vehicle burns after the Thomas Fire surged through Toro Canyon, Calif. on Dec. 11, 2017. By midnight the fire had burned over 230,000 acres, was 20% contained, destroyed 880 homes, and was the 5th largest fir... Photo Credit: Stuart Palley for ABC News
Firefighters battle flames on State Route 150 between Carpinteria and Ojai Calif., Dec. 11, 2017.

Photo Credit: Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic/USA Today

Christmas decorations illuminate a house as the growing Thomas Fire advances toward Santa Barbara County seaside communities, Dec. 10, 2017, in Carpinteria, Calif.

Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

Firefighting helicopters try to save a house from the Thomas wildfire in Carpinteria, Calif. on Dec. 10, 2017.

Photo Credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

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 Credit: Gene Blevins/Reuters
Patricia Hampton wipes away tears on her cot at the county fairgrounds in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 7, 2017. Wildfires menacing the greater Los Angeles area have forced thousands of evacuations; Hampton lost her ho... Photo Credit: Hilary Swift/The New York Times/Redux
Firefighters work to extinguish the Thomas Fire as it burns past the 101 Highway towards the Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 7, 2017. Photo Credit: Kyle Grillot/AFP/Getty Images
The Thomas Fire reaches the Northbound 101 freeway north of Ventura, Calif. As of late Dec. 6, the Thomas fire had grown to 96,000 acres and was 5 percent contained as the blaze continued to rage and caused mor... Photo Credit: (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/Polaris
Jeff Lipscomb embraces his daughter Rachel, 11, as they stand over where her room was and see her burned collection of books after their home was destroyed in a fire in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Polaris
Flames consume a home as a wildfire burns in Ojai, Calif., on Dec. 7, 2017. Photo Credit: Noah Berger/AP
Firefighters monitor a section of the Thomas Fire along the 101 freeway on Dec. 7, 2017 north of Ventura, Calif. The firefighters occasionally used a flare device to burn-off brush close to the roadside. Strong... Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik shared images of the Southern California wildfires taken from the International Space Station on Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: @AstroKomrade/Twitter
Paul and Erica Mattesich embrace before sifting through rubble at their Ventura, Calif., home on Dec. 6, 2017. The family lost their house when the Thomas fire tore through their neighborhood on Colina Vista. Photo Credit: Noah Berger/AP
A painting rescued by firefighters sits on the ground as they work to extinguish fires in a home during the Skirball Fire which began early morning in Bel-Air, Calif. Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: John Centrino/EPA
A firefighter walks out of a vineyard owned by Rupert Murdoch that was damaged by the Skirball fire near the Bel Air neighborhood on the west side of Los Angeles, Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Andrew Cullen/Reuters
Burnt cars lie among the ruins of the Hawaiian Village apartment complex that was destroyed by the Thomas Fire in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Mike Nelson/EPA
Gordon Fischer rests in an evacuation center set up at the Ventura County Fairgrounds after he was displaced by the Thomas Fire in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Mike Nelson/EPA
Firefighters remove furniture from a home destroyed in a wildfire in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles, Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Jae Hong/AP
A firefighter works to save burning houses as ash falls along Linda Flora Drive during the Skirball Fire in Los Angeles, Dec. 6, 2017.

The "Skirball" fire ignited before 5 a.m. (1300 GMT) and quickly... Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles firefighters battle to contain flames to a burning home and prevent the fire's spread to adjoining properties in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles on Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Reed Saxon/AP
Vehicles pass beside a wall of flames on the 101 highway as it reaches the coast during the Thomas wildfire near Ventura, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017.

Photo Credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Heavy smoke covers the seaside enclave of Mondos Beach beside the 101 highway as flames reach the coast during the Thomas wildfire near Ventura, Calif., on Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
Brushfire near the 405 Freeway in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Credit: JoeBrennan87/Twitter
A Los Angeles County firefighter prepares to battle a hot spot on the "Creek Fire" in the Lake View Terrace area of Los Angeles, Dec. 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Chris Carlson/AP
Firefighters work to put out a blaze burning homes early on Dec. 5, 2017, in Ventura, Calif. Authorities said the blaze broke out Monday and grew wildly in the hours that followed, consuming vegetation that has... Photo Credit: Ryan Cullom/Ventura County Fire Department via AP
Horse owners start to evacuate their horses as the Creek Fire intensifies on Foothill Blvd in Lake View Terrace, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Joe Lumaya/The Star via USA Today
A man watches as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif., on Dec. 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Noah Berger/AP
A man uses a hose to extinguish the Creek Fire as it burns along a hillside near homes and horses in the Shadow Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles on Dec. 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Kyle Grillot/AFP/Getty Images
The Thomas Fire burns along a hillside near Santa Paula, Calif., on Dec. 5, 2017.

More than a thousand firefighters were struggling to contain a wind-whipped brush fire in southern California on December 5 t... Photo Credit: Kyle Grillot/AFP/Getty Images

Homes burned to the ground by the Thomas fire are viewed from a helicopter in Ventura County, Dec. 5, 2017, Ventura, Calif. Photo Credit: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/Polaris
A wildfire threatens homes as it burns along the 101 Freeway Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Ventura, Calif. Photo Credit: AP
Smoke rises behind a leveled apartment complex as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Noah Berger/AP
A photo released by the Ventura County Fire Department shows the Thomas Fire, which forced more than 25,000 people to evacuate Ventura, Calif., Dec. 4, 2017. Photo Credit: Ventura County Fire Department/EPA

Liberty fire

The Liberty fire, located in Riverside County near Murrieta, north of Temecula, has scorched 300 acres of land. It was 100 percent contained as of Sunday night, according to the Murrieta Fire and Rescue.

Seven structures were destroyed in the flames, but authorities have lifted all evacuation orders for the area.

One woman, Lauren Fuga, said she watched in shock as the Liberty fire burned down part of her home in Murrieta.

"I just, I'm at a loss for words," Fuga told KABC through tears. "It's so horrible. You never think that it's going to happen to you, and it can."

ABC News' Mark Osborne, Matthew Fuhrman, Michael Kreisel and Jonah Lustig contributed to this report.