Largest California Wildfire on Record Finally Contained

Thomas Fire was declared 100 percent surrounded

 

In this Dec. 5, 2017 file photo, firefighters gather in front of a residential area as a wildfire burns along the 101 Freeway in Ventura, Calif. The largest wildfire on record in California, the Thomas fire, was declared contained on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, days after mud on the coastal mountain slopes it scorched crashed down on homes during a storm, killing at least 18 people. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

 

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — The largest wildfire on record in California was declared contained on Friday, days after mud on the coastal mountain slopes it scorched crashed down on homes during a storm, killing at least 18 people.

See also  Weed Trimmer Sparks Los Angeles Wildfire

The Thomas fire was declared 100 percent surrounded after ravaging Ventura and Santa Barbara counties northwest of Los Angeles for more than a month. A cause has not yet been determined.

Some areas of Los Padres National Forest remain closed to the public until authorities determine it is safe to enter.

The blaze began on Dec. 4 and fierce winds drove the flames through tinder-dry brush, chaparral and trees. The fire blackened 440 square miles (1,140.76 square kilometers) — an area nearly as large as Los Angeles.

Flames whipped through foothill communities and forest wilderness. More than 1,000 buildings, including many homes, were incinerated and thousands of people were forced to flee.

See also  Judge Takes Oversight of California Utility’s Wildfire Prevention Plan

Evacuations were called for Montecito as flames topped ridges above the wealthy enclave that was hit by waves of mud on Tuesday.

Two people were killed in the fire. Cory Iverson, a 32-year-old state firefighter, died of burns and smoke inhalation while working in steep country above Fillmore.

A preliminary state fire report said Iverson was laying hose line near a firebreak cut by bulldozers when he became surrounded by spot fires that exploded around him and cut off his retreat.

Four other members of his team managed to escape.

Some Montecito families had only recently returned home when another evacuation call went out on Monday.

See also  Ohio Forestry Division Expands Wildfire Protection Area

Forecasters warned that the approaching storm could unleash flooding and mudslides because fire-scorched areas had lost vegetation that stabilizes soil.

Cascades of mud, boulders, trees and other debris inundated the community, destroying at least 100 homes.

All contents © copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Topics

Thomas Fire was declared 100 percent surrounded     VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — The largest wildfire on record in California was declared contained on Friday, days after mud on the coastal mountain slopes it scorched crashed down on homes during a storm, killing at least 18 people. The Thomas fire was declared 100 percent surrounded […]

Get The Wildland Firefighter Newsletter

Related Articles

Drone Halts Helicopter Response to OR Fire

Drone Halts Helicopter Response to OR Fire

David Smigelski - Mail Tribune, Medford, Ore. Sep. 13—A helicopter was forced from the air in the middle of a firefight Monday when a drone appeared over a fire burning on Pioneer Road. Jackson County Fire District No. 5 and the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest...

OR Adopts CA Fire Tactic, Shutting Power Amid High Winds

OR Adopts CA Fire Tactic, Shutting Power Amid High Winds

By GILLIAN FLACCUS Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon utilities shut down power to tens of thousands of customers on Friday as dry easterly winds swept into the region in the hopes that it would lessen the risk of wildfires in extremely dry and hot...