Largest wildfire on record in California finally contained
THE largest wildfire on record in California has been declared contained, days after mud on the coastal mountain slopes it scorched crashed down on homes during a storm, killing at least 18 people.
The Thomas fire was declared 100 per cent surrounded after ravaging Ventura and Santa Barbara counties northwest of Los Angeles for more than a month. A cause has not yet been determined. Some areas of Los Padres National Forest remain closed to the public until authorities determine it is safe to enter. The blaze began on December 4 and fierce winds drove the flames through tinder-dry brush, chaparral and trees.
The fire blackened 1,140.76 square kms - an area nearly as large as Los Angeles.
Flames whipped through foothill communities and forest wilderness. More than 1,000 buildings, including many homes, were incinerated and thousands of people were forced to flee.