Thomas Fire Is California's Biggest In Recorded History At 273000 Acres

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

The Thomas fire continues to creep closer to becoming the California's largest wildfire on record, but its days of destroying homes and menacing communities appear to be over.

Thousands of firefighters have been battling the blaze since December 4.

State fire officials declared the Thomas fire, which overnight reached 273,400 acres, or about 427 square miles of coastal foothills and national forest scorched as the largest blaze.

Deadline adds that the Thomas fire threatened celebrity havens Montecito and Santa Barbara, with almost 100,000 evacuated and a slew of famous names showing gratitude to firefighters battling the blaze and trying to save the area.

Days of unrelenting hot, gusty winds drive it through Ventura neighborhoods, incinerating entire blocks, and threatened the wealthy enclave of Montecito. It remains as the third-most destructive in structure losses, with 1,063 buildings burned, according to Cal Fire.

Despite minimal activity, the so-called Thomas Fire increased in size to 272,800 acres (110,400 hectares) as of Friday morning. The Thomas Fire began on December 4 and expanded rapidly from strong Santa Ana winds in Ventura County.

On Wednesday, as the fire continued to march north and west, Santa Barbara County fire Capt. David Zaniboni was awed by the speed of its growth. It's now 65 percent contained and all mandatory evacuations have been lifted. At its peak the fire drove about 100,000 people from their homes.

The Cedar fire had been recognized as the biggest California wildfire in terms of acreage since 1932. Now only a remote wilderness valley is under an evacuation order.

As reported here, earlier this week the fire surpassed Tuolumne County's 2013 Rim Fire, which burned 257,314 acres. The Thomas fire has destroyed more than 1,000 structures and has been associated with one death.

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