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Photos: California wildfire only 15% contained and threatening Santa Barbara

Evacuation orders were issued overnight for some parts of Carpinteria close to Los Padres National Forest.

Image: AP/PA Images

A FIERCE WILDFIRE is raging on north of Los Angeles, threatening other towns after already charring vast swaths of land.

The so-called Thomas fire is only 15% contained, now threatening the city of Santa Barbara and the nearby coastal town of Carpinteria, and is on track to become one of the worst wildfires in California history.

It has already destroyed 583 structures and scorched 155,000 acres (60,000 hectares), the authorities say.

A photo posted by Santa Barbara police this morning showed a wall of flames several meters high very close to buildings in Carpinteria.

Evacuation orders were issued overnight for some parts of Carpinteria close to Los Padres National Forest, where the fire was raging.

California Wildfires Firefighters monitor the Thomas fire as it burns through Los Padres National Forest near Ojai Source: AP/PA Images

Conditions remained very dry in southern California, according to the National Weather Service, but strong winds that have fueled the fires for much of the week have eased significantly.

At least five other blazes in southern California are now largely contained, the state agency Calfire said.

After a five-day siege, some Californians were finally able to return home to inspect the damage wrought by the wildfires, which together have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee and destroyed more than 850 structures, including multimillion-dollar mansions.

UPI 20171208 In a pattern repeated throughout the neighborhood, homes that remained unscathed stand next to homes that were destroyed during the Thomas fire in the Arroyo Verde Park section of Ventura Source: UPI/PA Images

Despite the intensity of the fires that raged on multiple fronts – stretching from areas north of Los Angeles down to the San Diego region – authorities have reported only one fatality.

US President Donald Trump has issued a state of emergency for California, authorising the release of federal funds.

The week’s infernos capped California’s deadliest year ever for wildfires. More than 40 people died in October when fires swept through the state’s wine-producing counties north of San Francisco.

© AFP 2017

Read: Sir Bob Geldof among 8,000 who slept out in freezing Edinburgh to raise money for homelessness>

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