During an engineering flight test of the Cloud-Aerosol Multi-Angle Lidar (CAMAL) instrument, a view from NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center’s ER-2 aircraft shows smoke plumes, produced by the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, California, around 1 p.m. PST on 5 December 2017. Photo: NASA

By Javier Panzar and Michael Livingston
22 December 2017

VENTURA (Los Angeles Times) – The Thomas fire on Friday became California’s largest wildfire on record, burning 273,400 acres during its destructive march across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

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

The milestone reaffirmed 2017 as the most destructive fire season ever in the state. In October, a series of fires in wine country burned more than 10,000 homes and killed more than 40 people.

Those blazes, along with the Thomas fire, were fueled by dry conditions and intense winds.

Despite its size, the Thomas fire has been less destructive than either the wine-country fires or the Cedar fire, which destroyed 2,820 structures and killed 15 people.

The Thomas fire has claimed just over 1,000 structures since it started on Dec. 4, and San Diego fire engineer Cory Iverson died fighting the blaze last week. […]

The Thomas fire was by far the largest of a series of wildfires in December that destroyed homes in Bel-Air, northern San Diego County and the hills above Sylmar and Lake View Terrace. Officials said powerful Santa Ana winds, coupled with extremely dry conditions and a lack of rain all autumn, set the stage for the firestorm. [more]

Thomas fire becomes largest wildfire on record in California

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