Northwest of Los Angeles, the Thomas fire continues to ravage southern California’s coastal mountains. The blaze has now claimed the life of a veteran firefighter, Cary Iverson, under circumstances that were not immediately available.
Flags flew at half-staff and firefighters stood at attention, while a procession carried Iverson to the coroner's office. He was from a Calfire unit in San Diego. His death is the second blamed on the Thomas fire. A 70-year-old woman, died in a car accident on December 6th trying to escape the flames.
The fire began December 4th, fed by dry conditions and Santa Anna winds. It's now the 4th largest wildfire in the state's history. It has destroyed nearly a quarter of a million acres and almost 1,000 buildings, many of them homes.
Firefighters have made some progress against the fire; more than a third of it is contained, but the flames are still a threat to many more homes.
Iverson is the first firefighter to die in the line of duty in this season's mounting California wildfires.