Thomas Fire: NASA images show progress on huge California blaze

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All remaining significant evacuation orders for areas around the smoldering remnants of Southern California's huge wildfire were canceled Thursday after a new round of winds caused little fire activity.

Authorities lifted all evacuation orders in Santa Barbara County on Thursday morning as fire crews continued to slow the spread of the massive Thomas fire.

The only visible flame was on the northern side of the fire where controlled burns set by firefighters to clear combustible material were being conducted in wilderness, said fire information officer Brandon Vaccaro.

Red Flag warnings are in effect from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Thursday for southern Santa Barbara County.

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About 18,000 homes and other buildings were still listed as threatened.

The Thomas Fire bears down on homes in Montecito on December 16, 2017.

The Thomas fire was initially stoked by hot, dry Santa Ana winds blowing with rare hurricane force from the eastern desert, spreading flames across miles of drought-parched chaparral and brush in California's rugged coastal terrain.

While winds will diminish for a time later Friday through Saturday, cold air plunging across the West and a strong area of high pressure developing over the Great Basin will lead to another round of gusty winds beginning later this weekend. Images from NASA satellites show sharp contrasts in the amount of smoke billowing from the Thomas fire, one of the largest wildfires on record in California.

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