Thomas Fire Is California's Biggest In Recorded History At 273000 Acres

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The fire eventually moved into Santa Barbara County, threatening Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria, after devastating much of downtown Ventura.

The Thomas Fire that began northwest of Los Angeles on December 4 has burned 273,400 acres (110,641 hectares), the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said, bigger than the size of New York City.

The fire previously topped Cal Fire's list of the top 20 largest wildfires in California, the oldest entry on which dates to 1932.

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The Thomas Fire has grown to more than 272,000 acres, making it the second largest in California's history.

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. It remains as the third-most destructive in structure losses, with 1,063 buildings burned, according to Cal Fire.

However, larger fires may predate the list, including the Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889 that reportedly burned 300,000 acres. About 775 were single-family homes.

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The total number of firefighters working the Thomas Fire is 2,512 comprised of 116 fire engines, 61 fire crews, 26 helicopters, 19 bulldozers, and 31 water tenders.

Thousands more firefighters - including from Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington state - have been involved in battling other wildfires in the state.

This year is the worst on record for wildfire devastation in California. It started near Thomas Aquinas College in the Steckel Park area of Santa Paula, quickly spreading into Ventura and prompting hundreds of evacuations.

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