Thomas fire within 500 acres of becoming California's largest wildfire on record

Thomas Fire becomes largest wildfire in California's history

The fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties had scorched 273,400 acres, or about 427 square miles of coastal foothills and national forest, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. At 273,246 acres, the Cedar fire killed 15 people and burned almost 3,000 structures before officials were able to get a handle on it.

Dry conditions throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties have compounded problems for firefighters.

Firefighters climb a hill while cutting a line among homes at the Thomas Fire on December 16, 2017, in Montecito.

Cal Fire says the flames have burned through 1,063 buildings and is just 65 percent contained after starting on December 4th.

A California wildfire that has killed two people and seared its way through cities, towns and wilderness northwest of Los Angeles became the largest blaze ever officially recorded in California on Friday, authorities said.

Firefighters set the speed of the burn, he said, using bulldozers, fire engines and hand tools. It's now 65 percent contained and all mandatory evacuations have been lifted. However, firefighters appear to be getting a handle on the blaze, securing established containment lines adjacent to communities and other infrastructure while monitoring for flareups and new fires.

The state's largest fire on record burned 273,246 acres (110,581 hectares) in San Diego County in October 2003.

But on Thursday this week, the fire grew by 770 acres. Thousands of people have been evacuated and hundreds of structures have been destroyed.

The backfire operation began this week on the south side of Potrero Seco Road west of Highway 33 and is slowly crawling deeper into wilderness and toward the bigger Thomas fire footprint to the south, said Brandon Vaccaro, a spokesman for Cal Fire.



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