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Thomas Fire, largest fire in California history, 100 percent contained
13 January 2018, 09:34 | Elsie Buchanan
Firefighters Contain Largest Wildfire on Record
After crews flew over the burn area Thursday to make sure there were no active flames, officials declared the Thomas Fire at 100 percent containment.
According to news released by Los Padres National Forest officials, the Thomas Fire began on December 4 and over a month later had burned 281,893 acres, destroyed 1,063 Structures and damaged 280 more.
Firefighters have still not determined the cause of the fire.
But in the second image, captured Wednesday after the mudslides swept homes off their foundations and killed more than a dozen people, the impacts of both the wildfire and the flooding can clearly be seen. Firefighter Cory Iverson, 32, died due to thermal injuries and smoke inhalation, according to the medical examiner.
The youngest, 3-year-old Kailly Benitez, was one of four children killed.
It also stripped brush from hillsides above Montecito. The mountains above the coastal enclave appear darker, stripped of vegetation that would normally absorb help soil absorb rain. The state's fires scorched more than 505,900 acres, more than double last year's burned acreage count.
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Still, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Thomas Fire itself proved less destructive than other fires of similar scale in California, such as the wine country fires of last fall or the 2003 Cedar Fire, which until this month held the record for the largest blaze since the state started keeping such data in 1932. In the end, the fire burned 281,893 acres. This is almost double what was reported in 2016.
The Los Padres National Forest is closed to the public within the Thomas Fire perimeter on the Santa Barbara and Ojai Ranger Districts.
The state historically faces an increased wildfire threat in fall, but dry and windy conditions persisted into December a year ago. That grass dried out in summer and turned into tinder, providing fuel for rapidly spreading fires often pushed by strong winds that can carry hot embers for miles and turn small spot fires into infernos.
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