Santa Barbara now under threat from wildfire as massive inferno spreads over 200,000 acres and thousands flee what has become California's fifth largest fire ever | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Santa Barbara now under threat from wildfire as massive inferno spreads over 200,000 acres and thousands flee what has become California's fifth largest fire ever

A flare-up on the western edge of Southern California's largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing Sunday, as wind-fanned flames churned through canyons and down hillsides toward coastal towns.

The so-called Thomas Fire is only 15 percent 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 173,000 acres, the authorities say. New evacuations were ordered in Carpinteria, which been under fire threat for days.

The new evacuation zone extends within two miles of the Santa Barbara Zoo.

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