A California wildfire that firefighters have battled for over two weeks is now the state’s largest since at least 1932, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Friday.
The so-called “Thomas Fire” has burned 273 400 acres, destroyed 1 063 structures and cost more than $177 million since it broke out on December 4, Cal Fire said.
More than 2 800 fire personnel are battling the blaze, which is now 65% contained. San Diego-based Cal Fire engineer Cory Iverson died fighting the Thomas Fire in Ventura County on December 14.
The Thomas Fire is now even larger than the 2003 Cedar Fire, which burned 273 246 acres and previously topped Cal Fire’s list of the top 20 largest wildfires in California, the oldest entry on which dates to 1932.
However, larger fires may predate the list, including the Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889 that reportedly burned 300 000 acres.
“There were fires with significant acreage burned in years prior to 1932 but those records are less reliable and this list is meant to give an overview of the large fires in more recent times,” Cal Fire said.
This year is the worst on record for wildfire devastation in California.