California's Thomas fire becomes largest in state history

26 December, 2017, 10:25 | Author: Luis Fowler
  • Map: See how far Thomas Fire zone would extend in San Jose

Incremental increases in burned acreage detected by daily aerial surveys since then have been largely due to controlled-burning operations conducted by firefighters to clear swaths of vegetation between the smoldering edges of the fire zone and populated areas.

2017 has been a record year for California wildfires, and this holiday season, the Thomas wildfire in the southern parts of the state has become the largest fire recorded in state history. Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes as the fire spread across 427 square miles, mainly along the California coast roughly 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

The firefighters at the Thomas fire base camp had a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus on Christmas Eve morning, with the Ventura County Fire Department sharing a group picture.

The Thomas fire was just one of a series of wildfires that burned in Southern California in December, though it was the largest.

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As of Friday, the enormous fire had torched over 275,000 acres of coastal woodlands as well as national and state forests, according to details provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, cited by the San Jose Mercury News. It started in Ventura County and has been moving across Santa Barbara County.

Crews are continuing to patrol the fire lines along the front country above Santa Barbara, Montecito and Carpinteria, and on Camino Cielo on the ridge of the Santa Ynez Mountains.

"Those (other) fires burned for weeks and weeks and this fire is only a few weeks old", he said.

Fire officials estimate full containment by January 7, more than a month after the blaze first erupted in Ventura County.

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