Thomas Fire containment jumps from 65 to 78 percent in single day

  • Thomas Fire containment jumps from 65 to 78 percent in single day

Thomas Fire containment jumps from 65 to 78 percent in single day

On Friday night, the Thomas Fire became the biggest wildfire in California since the state began keeping records in 1932.

Firefighters climb a hill while cutting a line among homes at the Thomas Fire on December 16, 2017, in Montecito. The Thomas Fire pushed to 273,400 acres as firefighters worked during the holiday weekend to contain the blaze. Civilian Virginia Rae Pesola, 70, died in her auto on Wheeler Canyon Road while trying to escape the fire on December 6. Firefighter Cory Iverson, 32, died in an active fire zone on December 14 due to thermal injuries and smoke inhalation, according to the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office.

On Thursday, authorities canceled the last evacuation notices still in effect for Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

As reported here, earlier this week the fire surpassed Tuolumne County's 2013 Rim Fire, which burned 257,314 acres.

Now, however, things are finally beginning to look up for firefighters and residents dealing with the Thomas Fire.

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

Firefighters set the speed of the burn, he said, using bulldozers, fire engines and hand tools. A train of personnel moves along setting the fire making sure no fire jumps the control line or gets out of hand, Vaccaro said.

The improving conditions allowed officials to lift many evacuation orders on Thursday. Thousands of people have been evacuated and hundreds of structures have been destroyed.

Cal-Fire Public Information Officer Daniel Berlant told Newsweek that the Thomas Fire is "not actively growing", but there are still fire-fighting operations along the outer edges of the wildfire where it consumed additional acreage on Friday.

The fire is responsible for two deaths and destroyed 750 homes.