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California Firefighter Killed Battling Wildfire

  • VOA News

FILE - The Thomas fire burns through Los Padres National Forest near Ojai, California, Dec. 8, 2017.

A firefighter was killed Thursday battling a large wildfire north of Los Angeles, California.

California forestry fire chief Ken Pimlott said Cory Iverson, an engineer from San Diego, died while battling the so-called Thomas fire. He released no other details.

Iverson, 32, had been with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection since 2009.

His death is the second blamed on the Thomas fire — a huge blaze that erupted Dec. 4. It has already burned nearly 98,000 hectares and destroyed 730 homes in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, northwest of Los Angeles. A 70-year-old woman died last week while evacuating the fire.

Officials say it is the fourth-largest wildfire in California history.

As of Thursday, the Thomas fire was only 30 percent contained. But firefighters have been able to bring a number of other large blazes in and around Los Angeles under control.

With numerous massive fires near San Francisco and Los Angeles, 2017 has been one of the worst wildfire seasons ever in California.

Experts blame global warming, a recent extreme drought, and the hot dry winds that blow down from the California mountains every fall.

California Governor Jerry Brown has warned residents that such devastating fires will be "the new normal" in the state.

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