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Thomas Fire Becomes Largest Blaze in California’s History

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The deadly Thomas fire which has destroyed more than 700 homes in California is now the largest blaze in the state’s recorded history.

The wildfire has burned more than 1000sq km – an area greater than New York City, Brussels and Paris combined.

It broke out in Santa Paula in early December and has moved west towards the coast, one of several major fires in California in recent months.

Thousands of firefighters have been deployed to bring it under control.

Most of California’s largest wildfires have been recorded this century. According to scientists, the warming climate and spread of buildings into wilderness areas have contributed.

Image source Wikimedia

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The Thomas fire slowly eclipsed previous record-setting blazes, finally overtaking the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego County, which burned 273,246 acres.

It follows a series of deadly fires in the state’s wine country in October that burned more than 10,000 homes and killed more than 40 people.

The Thomas fire has destroyed more than 1,000 buildings and claimed the life of one firefighter – Cory Iverson, a father of one from San Diego whose wife was expecting another child.

It is now moving slower because of rain and less wind.


State fire agency Cal Fire says the Thomas fire is now 65% contained and expected to continue to slow. Controlled burns by firefighters may cause some temporary expansion, it said.

Seven of California’s 10 largest fires on record have occurred since 2000. Two were in the 1970s and the earliest was in 1932 – the Matilija fire which, like the Thomas fire, burned through Ventura County.

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