Deadly California wildfire has become the largest in state's history
The current fire in the state is 154 acres larger than the previous record holder blaze in California.
The California wildfire, which has been spreading at an alarming rate, was deemed the largest blaze the state has ever witnessed on Friday, according to authorities. Thousands of firefighters, along with fleets of aircraft, have been attempting to battle the deadly Thomas flame since December 4.
The fire has killed two people so far and has seared its way through cities and towns of northwest Los Angeles, destroying hundreds of properties and homes.
🙏🏻PLEASE RT: Cory Iverson died fighting the #ThomasFire. DONATE for his family here: https://t.co/T0Gym4fT7Z#SantaBarbara #Ventura #Montecito #Filmore #SantaPaula #CAfire #CAfires #CaliforniaWildfires #California #wildfire pic.twitter.com/e0uMrreURm— Santa Barbara (@onsantabarbara) December 15, 2017
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said that the fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara has destroyed more than 700 homes, scorching 273,400 acres, or about 427 square miles of coastal foothills and national forest.
According to Associated Press reports, the current fire is 154 acres larger than the previous record holder blaze in California. The 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego, which claimed 15 lives, was recognized as the biggest California wildfire in terms of acreage since 1932.
The speed at which the California wildfires are spreading has become a matter of concern for everyone, especially the firefighters, one of whom recently said that he had never witnessed anything like it in his 24 years of career as a firefighter.
Crews battling Southern California's massive wildfire made progress in containing the two-week old blaze, but forecasts for stronger winds on Wednesday threaten to transform the fire into the largest in U.S. history pic.twitter.com/kk3oZOFIXZ— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) December 21, 2017
“A lot of guys around here would tell you the same thing,” Negrete said at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. “We’ve been firefighters for decades and have never seen anything like this."
The firefighting officials made use of a temporary reprieve in the winds to build new fire lines, in hopes of stopping the fire from spreading further. The conditions, in the region, however, look bleak as the officials say that they do not expect to contain the fire until January next year.
Reports state that the Thomas fire is nearly 65 percent contained.
Any further growth in the extent of the wildfire will reportedly be because of deliberate actions by the firefighters, according to The Los Angeles Times reports.
"The main fire itself will not have any growth," said Capt. Brandon Vaccaro of the California City Fire Department. "Any growth that we see or is reflected in the acreage will be based on the control burns."
#ThomasFire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, at 273,400 acres, is the largest California wildfire and, with 1,063 structures destroyed, the 7th most destructive. It is 65% contained as of 22-Dec-2017. https://t.co/MzrxuIvWAM pic.twitter.com/t8mwoI1pof— Ed Joyce (@EdJoyce) December 23, 2017
Vaccaro added that the firefighters set the speed of the burn using bulldozers, fire engines, and hand tools. "A train of personnel moves along, setting the fire to ensure no fire jumps the control line or gets out of hand," Vaccaro said, the LA Times reported.
Over 8,500 firefighters are engaged in battling the blaze. This is reportedly one of the largest mobilization of crews in California's history to fight the wildfire.
The cost of tackling the Thomas fire has already reached nearly $130 million.
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