California Fire Warning Extended as Massive Blaze Rages On

Authorities in Southern California on Monday extended a fire warning for Los Angeles and Ventura counties, as meteorologists said dangerous winds may stoke the flames of several wildfires until at least Wednesday. The news came as the Thomas Fire, the largest of at least five fires scorching the region, closed in around Montecito in Santa Barbara County, sending people fleeing and covering residents in ash. The fire, which was only 20 percent contained as of Monday, has consumed 231,700 acres since it erupted last week and become the fifth-largest fire in state history. Officials in Santa Barbara County on Monday handed out masks to residents and urged people to stay indoors. “There’s so much ash it’s unbelievable,” a bakery manager in Montecito told the Associated Press. “Everything is white. The streets are covered, cars are covered, our parking lot is covered.”