Firefighter dies while battling Thomas fire in California

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) –A California firefighter has died while battling the Thomas fire that is threatening the Golden State’s Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, officials said.

The firefighter was an engineer with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection from San Diego, said Cal Fire director Chief Ken Pimlott in a press release Thursday.

Pimlott did not immediately the firefighter’s identity or details on how he died, asking the community to keep the family in their prayers.

“… [P]lease join me in keeping our fallen firefighter and his loved ones in your prayers all the responders on the front lines in your thoughts as they continue to work under extremely challenging conditions,” Pimlott said.

As many as six wildfires were blazing through California’s arid landscape last week. The Thomas fire, the largest of them, began as a 50-acre brush fire in the foothills of Santa Paula on Dec. 4, officials said.

The Thomas fire is now 30 percent contained by Thursday afternoon after it had burned through more than 242,5000 acres. A total of 8,144 fire personnel are battling the Thomas fire, which is currently threatening at least 18,000 structures, according to Cal Fire.

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