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19 December 2017, 07:51 | Tara Lloyd
Mario Tama Getty Images
- California firefighters expected favorable conditions in the battle against the still-growing Thomas wildfire on Monday, December 18.
The blaze that broke out two weeks ago still threatens communities northwest of Los Angeles, where thousands remain under evacuation orders. The burned zone encompasses an area about a third of the size of the state of Rhode Island.
"Dinner for new friends at our house", the "Code Black" actor wrote Sunday on Instagram, captioning a photo of firefighters filling their plates with cheeseburgers, spaghetti and more in what looks to be Lowe's kitchen. "Everybody is breathing a sigh of relief that this will give those firefighters a chance to get in there and do some good work, and not just be constantly chasing things", she told Reuters by telephone.
The Thomas Fire is 45 percent contained. The blaze erupted on December 4 and was stoked by hot, dry Santa Ana winds blowing with rare hurricane force from the high desert to the east, spreading the flames across miles of rugged coastal terrain faster than firefighters could keep up.
Fire officials lifted several evacuation orders and warnings Monday, including some areas in the city of Santa Barbara, but Sheriff Bill Brown said there are still about 16,000 people affected by mandatory evacuation orders, and another 10,300 people living in voluntary evacuation warning areas.
Officials are hoping their containment lines will hold at Gibraltar Road to the west and East Camino Cielo to the north, where crews spent the day Monday trying to cool down the fire.
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Rob Lowe's home didn't burn in the Thomas Fire, but flames came close. So far, firefighting costs have surpassed $117 million.
The cause remains under investigation.
The 422-square-mile (1,093-sq. kilometer) blaze has destroyed more than 700 homes.
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