Thomas Fire Burns 272,000 Acres, 60 Percent Contained

Firefighters are getting more control over the massive Thomas Fire burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, but powerful winds are threatening to whip up the flames once again. 

The National Weather Service says Santa Ana winds will return in full force later afternoon with gusts up to 40 mph. The 272,000 acre wildfire is 60 percent contained, and is now California's second largest wildfire. Fuel in the area remains dry, which is a major concern as the winds pick up. Embers could blow toward homes in Montecito and Santa Barbara. 

The Thomas Fire has already destroyed 765 single-family homes and claimed the life of one firefighter. Cal Fire officials say they expect to be battling the blaze  into January. 

Photo: Getty Images

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