Publication Date December 20, 2017

Thomas fire in California now the 2nd largest in state's history

United States
A handout photo made available by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department shows a U.S. Forest Service Hot Shot Crew from Ojai head down a fire break to work off East Camino Cielo near Santa Barbara, Calif., Dec. 17, 2017. Photo: Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County/EPA

The monster Thomas fire north of Los Angeles is leaving its place in the state's record books as it is now officially the second largest fire in California history.

For the past 16 days, the fire that has been turning mountainsides to ash has grown. The fire only needs to consume a couple thousand more acres to dethrone the 2003 Cedar fire that maintains the top spot on the list.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced this morning that 60 percent of the fire is contained, up from 55 percent Tuesday and 50 percent on Monday. Cal Fire reported that it was the same size -- 272,000 acres -- as the night before.

So far, the overpowering Thomas fire has claimed two lives, caused more than 100,000 people to flee their homes and destroyed 1,313 structures. More than 8,526 firefighters have put their lives on their line to stop it, running up a cost of roughly $124 million.


The fire has tested the firefighters, who have been forced to fight fires during a time of year when rain showers usually arrive to help their efforts. Instead, they are left to combat these bone-dry spells that kick up the Santa Ana winds and lower the humidity to the teens.