Firefighters brace for return of California winds

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - After a two-day lull in powerful winds that drove Southern California's massive wildfire, crews are bracing for the return of potentially dangerous gusts that could revive the flames.

Crews used the calm conditions to build containment lines and set controlled fires to clear dry brush ahead of so-called sundowner winds expected to whip up Wednesday afternoon.

The blaze that's burned for more than two weeks northwest of Los Angeles is 55 percent contained and now the second-largest in California history. Officials say the new winds could cause it to grow into the state's biggest fire ever.

More evacuations were lifted Tuesday, but communities remain threatened in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

A firefighter and a fleeing civilian have died in the Thomas fire that broke out on Dec. 4.