Thomas Fire, Largest Wildfire in California History, 100 Percent Contained

Leslie Hanson
January 13, 2018

Two people, a firefighter and a civilian, died in the fire.

The Los Padres National Forest is closed to the public within the Thomas Fire perimeter on the Santa Barbara and Ojai Ranger Districts. Over 1,000 structures were destroyed, including many homes, and an additional 280 were damaged.

According to news released by Los Padres National Forest officials, the Thomas Fire began on December 4 and over a month later had burned 281,893 acres, destroyed 1,063 Structures and damaged 280 more. While California wildfires generally occur in hot summer months, years of drought have created conditions where such disasters can occur year-round. The Thomas Fire left hillsides and landscape vulnerable in the region, with Montecito receiving the brunt of the downpour and destruction, resulting in at least 13 deaths, 25 injured and 50 rescues by air and dozens by ground due to mudslides and flooding.


The search amid the mud-covered wreckage of cars and homes is in its third day Friday, and crews want people out of the area in order to bring in more dump trucks and heavy equipment to move more of the boulders and debris. Campfires are allowed only in designated-use sites, and no fires are allowed in the backcountry; portable stoves and lanterns (with an on-off switch) are only permitted with a valid California Campfire Permit. Up to 4 inches of rain fell on the Montecito area.

Water, mud and debris continue to move, hampering Caltrans progress in clearing USA 101. Both federal and state emergency response teams are assessing the burned areas to identify places at particular risk of flooding or debris flow.

"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.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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