A timelapse video provided by the Ventura County Fire Department shows the plume collapsing at the Thomas Fire, creating dangerous conditions. When a column collapses, it creates a "downward rush of air in every direction ... spreading fire rapidly outward," according to the National Park Service.
A U.S. Forest Service firefighter shoots a flare during an operation to removed unburned vegetation in Santa Monica Canyon in Carpinteria during the Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara County on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. In the background, a BA-e146 makes a retardant drop on a nearby hillside.
The Thomas Fire has reached Santa Barbara County and the smoke plume is spreading over San Luis Obispo County. High winds through the night pushed the now 173,000 acre toward Carpinteria, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017.
The Thomas Fire has reached Santa Barbara County and the smoke plume spread over San Luis Obispo County on Sunday, December 10, 2017. Here's a look at the skies over Pismo Beach, Morro Bay and elsewhere.
Along the California coast between Ventura and Santa Barbara the state's biggest wildfire approached beach communities as flames leapt from steep hillsides across US Highway 101 on Thursday. The flames forced an evacuation of dozens of homes at Faria Beach. The massive fire also threatened Ojai, a scenic mountain town of 7,000 people dubbed "Shangri-La" and known for its boutique hotels and New Age spiritual retreats.
More than 500 structures have been damaged and more than 120,000 people have evacuated as fires burn in half a dozen counties in Southern California. President Donald Trump approved a California disaster declaration Friday, December 8, 2017, ordering federal aid to the area.
Santa Barbara County fire agencies responded to a vegetation fire at Highway 101 and Zaca Station Road north of Buellton on Thursday, December 7, 2017, which resulted in the closure of the highway in both directions.
California's wildfires continued to spread under the influence of strong winds on Tuesday, so much so that animals were left behind to fend for themselves.
At one point, a horse was even seen galloping across a highway in an attempt to save itself from the flames and smoke that continued to spread as a result of gusty Santa Ana winds.
The wind-whipped blaze erupted Thursday afternoon in the Murrieta area of Riverside County, north of San Diego County, and authorities say it's moving dangerously fast. A key stretch of U.S. 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties was intermittently closed Thursday as flames jumped lanes. At least one home has been destroyed.
Raked by ferocious Santa Ana winds, explosive wildfires northwest of Los Angeles and in the city's foothills burned a psychiatric hospital and scores of homes Tuesday, December 5, 2017, and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. The fire grew wildly in Ventura County.