California's Largest Wildfire on Record is 100-Percent Contained

Joann Johnston
January 13, 2018

More than a month after the Thomas Fire took hold in California's Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, firefighters have reached 100 percent containment of the deadly blaze. Get breaking KHTS Santa Clarita News Alerts delivered right to your inbox.

Burned barren by the fire, the hills in the area made easy prey for recent heavy rains, loosing rivers of mud that found little resistance from the scant vegetation that remained.

Los Padres National Forest officials flew over the scorched land Thursday and determined that it was fully contained.

The Thomas Fire, sparked December 4 in Santa Barbara County, scorched the land and burned away vegetation as it quickly grew to become the largest wildfire in modern California history. "We would also like to thank the local and surrounding communities for their understanding and support during this time".

Wildfires exacerbate the potential for debris flow and are most likely to occur during high intensity rainfall.

FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images
A house remains standing in front of an ash-filled hillside in Montecito California on Dec. 20
FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images A house remains standing in front of an ash-filled hillside in Montecito California on Dec. 20

4 outside Ventura as a series of blazes cropped up across Southern California, but it eventually grew to be the largest, burning through around 281,893 acres ― or about 213,000 football fields ― in and around the Los Padres National Forest. This order includes trails within the burned area.

"The only words I can really think of to describe what it looked [like] was it looked like a World War I battlefield", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said of the region on Tuesday.

The federal Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) team and California Watershed Emergency Response Team (WERT) are assessing areas within the Thomas Fire for burn severity and identifying locations at risk for flooding, debris flows and other post-fire hazards.

The fire eclipsed the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego County, which burned 273,246 acres.

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