Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 8:14 pm | Fair 58º

 
 
 
 

Thomas Fire Burns Its Way Into Record Books as State’s Largest Wildfire

Area blackened now totals 273,400 acres; containment remains at 65%

Hoses used to the battle the north flank of the Thomas Fire in the Rose Valley area north of Ojai are gathered up for repair and reuse. The blaze had blackened 273,400 acres as of Friday night, making it the largest wildfire in recorded history in California. It remained at 65% contained. Click to view larger
Hoses used to the battle the north flank of the Thomas Fire in the Rose Valley area north of Ojai are gathered up for repair and reuse. The blaze had blackened 273,400 acres as of Friday night, making it the largest wildfire in recorded history in California. It remained at 65% contained. (Stuart Palley / U.S. Forest Service photo)

This story was last updated at 9:22 a.m. Saturday.

As expected, the Thomas Fire has grown to be the largest wildfire in recorded history in California.

In an update Friday night, incident commanders said the Thomas Fire has blackened 273,400 acres, surpassing the previous record holder — the Cedar Fire, which charred 273,246 acres in San Diego County in 2003.

Crews are continuing to patrol the fire lines along the front country above Santa Barbara, Montecito and Carpinteria, and on Camino Cielo on the ridge of the Santa Ynez Mountains.

Little fire activity was reported there Friday.

The most active portion of the blaze remained on the northern flank, in the area of Rose Valley off Highway 33, where a firing operation has been underway and is expected to go on for several days.

That prescribed burn will keep adding acreage to the fire, with more than one fire official suggesting to Noozhawk that the final tally could exceed 300,000 acres.

As of Friday night, the containment remained at 65 percent.

The force battling the blaze, which broke out Dec. 4 near Santa Paula, continued to be drawn down, and numbered 2,512 people as of Saturday morning.

More than 1,000 homes and other structures have been destroyed, the majority of them in Ventura County.

Two deaths have been blamed on the fire, including Cory Iverson, a 32-year-old Calfire engineer from San Diego.

Funeral services for Iverson were planned for Saturday.

After crews held the lines against a sundowner “wind event” Wednesday night, weather conditions have shifted to a weak offshore flow.

Cause of the blaze, which began near Thomas Aquinas College north of Santa Paula, remained under investigation amid reports that investigators were looking at Southern California Edison Co equipment.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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