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California's Thomas fire becomes largest in state history

26 December 2017

A firefighter and a civilian fleeing the flames died in the Thomas fire as days of unrelentingly dry, gusty winds drove the flames.

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. "Other states, including California, were there when OR needed help over the past few years and we're glad we're able to reciprocate".

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Fire officials in Southern California now consider the deadly Thomas Fire to be the second largest in the state's history. Credit: Incident Management Team.

The Thomas fire has swept through 273,400 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties since December 4 and is still only 65 percent contained, according to a report released by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.

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One of the trees was knocked down by wind during the summer, the other one survived the fire. That area is still shown as uncontrolled on the Team's map. If the weather had not changed, the 2002 Wolf Fire would have assisted in controlling it on the north side near Highway 33.

This story was last updated at 9:22 a.m. Saturday.

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More than half of the burned acreage took place on U.S. National Forest land, according to the federal and state agencies overseeing the fire. Mandatory evacuation orders for the Thomas Fire have been lifted. The Thomas fire had already burned an area larger than Manhattan but has spread to an area larger than "New York City, Washington, DC, and San Francisco combined" according to CNN.

California's Thomas fire becomes largest in state history