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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. The massive wildfire that California has been battling since early December has now ballooned into the third-largest in the state's history, burning a record amount of acreage, officials said Saturday.

Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority said the Thomas Fire, which started Dec. 4 in Santa Paula, has now burned 259,000 acres (nearly 105,000 hectares). That exceeds the devastating Rim Fire in 2013 by 2,000 acres.

"As of this morning, we're at 259,000 acres and still growing," Concialdi said.

The region has had "red flag" or hot, dry and windy conditions for an unprecedented 13 consecutive days.

The National Weather Service says those conditions would last at least through Saturday evening, with winds gusting to 40 mph in the Santa Barbara County mountains where the fire is burning.

Everything about the fire was massive, from a footprint larger than that of many cities to the sheer scale of destruction that cremated entire neighbourhoods or the legions attacking it: about 8,300 firefighters from nearly a dozen states, aided by 78 bulldozers and 29 helicopters that were dropping thousands of gallons (litres) of water on fires and hot spots.

Firefighting costs were approaching $89 million.

"I'm finding it's not as efficient as it was but it's still great. I kind of took a stab at it after seeing it on Facebook. It really was just to give me energy and it has totally done that," she said.

She no longer drank coffee and was out of bed at 6am, she said.

Auckland University of Technology senior nutrition lecturer Dr Caryn Zinn said the claim people could derive nutrients through a patch was dubious.

"There's not one hint of science that I can see," she said. "My advice would be for people to be very wary ... you don't suddenly get weight loss by taking a pill or putting something through the skin."

Similar products are on the online market, including Vitamin C and Vitamin B patches, and Invigorate consultant dietician Dr Kirsty Fairburn said there had been studies on patches used for skincare.

Whitestone Reit (NYSE:WSR) had an increase of 7.59% in short interest. WSR's SI was 5.35 million shares in December as released by FINRA. Its up 7.59% from 4.97M shares previously. With 388,500 avg volume, 14 days are for Whitestone Reit (NYSE:WSR)'s short sellers to cover WSR's short positions. The SI to Whitestone Reit's float is 18.72%. The stock increased 1.45% or $0.21 during the last trading session, reaching $14.73. About 1.43 million shares traded or 318.01% up from the average. Whitestone REIT (NYSE:WSR) has declined 9.96% since December 16, 2016 and is downtrending. It has underperformed by 26.66% the P500.

Partner Investment Management Lp decreased Medicines Co (Call) (MDCO) stake by 44.97% reported in 2017Q2 SEC filing. Partner Investment Management Lp sold 17,403 shares as Medicines Co (Call) (MDCO)'s stock declined 20.30%. The Partner Investment Management Lp holds 21,300 shares with $810,000 value, down from 38,703 last quarter. Medicines Co (Call) now has $1.97 billion valuation. The stock increased 0.18% or $0.05 during the last trading session, reaching $27.3. About 1.60M shares traded or 33.63% up from the average. The Medicines Company (NASDAQ:MDCO) has risen 16.70% since December 16, 2016 and is uptrending. It has by 0.00% the P500.

The Thomas Fire surging through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties has already burned more than 1,000 buildings, including well over 750 homes. Another 18,000 buildings are still in jeopardy, including mansions in the wealthy enclave of Montecito. Some 315 fire engines are stationed in and around homes in Montecito and Santa Barbara, along with "hand crews" armed with equipment like chain saws and drop torches. Another 200 fire engines are on standby.

Concialdi said authorities are hoping to have the blaze contained by Jan. 7.

Consumer New Zealand is warning people against a wellbeing company touting a "revolutionary wearable nutrition" product that claims to feed supplements through a skin patch.

Experts here are sceptical and Consumer New Zealand has labelled the patches expensive and not credible, but users of Le-Vel's Thrive range say their lives have changed and they are bounding out of bed in the mornings thanks to the US-based health company's products.

The patches claim to help with weight management, sleep and mood, and are recommended to be taken alongside its other products. They contain a mixture of coffee, garcinia cambogia, green tea, guarana, white willow bark and herbal extract Forslean.

The website says the products slowly release its formula through the skin, in "derma fusion technology" and its Facebook page features "thrivers" showing off colourful patches on their body with glowing testimony from its users.