Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Many Thomas Fire firefighters spending first Christmas battling wildfire

Map: See how far Thomas Fire zone would extend in San Jose Many Thomas Fire firefighters spending first Christmas battling wildfire
Scott Davis | 26 December, 2017, 10:27

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire as it is also known, this late 2017 Thomas fire is now the largest wildfire on the books.

The fire has destroyed over 1,000 structures as it has scorched coastal mountains, foothills and canyons across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties northwest of Los Angeles, officials said.

The Thomas Fire, which charred 273,400 acres, is now the largest wildfire in California history, according to Cal Fire.

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.

The Thomas fire took only 2 ½ weeks to burn its way into history books as unrelenting winds and parched weather turned everything in its path to tinder - including more than 700 homes. It's torched an area much larger than New York City.




At least 18,000 structures were threatened by the Thomas Fire, according to Cal Fire. Cal Fire reported 6,982 fires in California from January 1 to December 17, including the wind-fanned North Bay fires in October.

Smoke from the Thomas Fire could be seen for miles around on the day before Christmas Eve. Twenty-one commercial buildings burned.

The state sent firefighters south as part of a mutual-aid agreement that brought California firefighters to assist with OR wildfires last summer. Evacuations were ordered for a few days, and then lifted Thursday.

This year is the worst on record for wildfire devastation in California. Damage has topped $10 billion - and that was before the current fires began in Southern California.

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