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Thomas Fire, California's Largest On Record, Is Now 100 Percent Contained

13 January 2018

After more than a month of destruction, the largest fire in California's modern history is now 100% contained, according to the US Forest Service. Its historic toll in Southern California - more than 280,000 acres ravaged - also led to another deadly disaster: the mudslides this month in Santa Barbara County.

Two people, a firefighter and a civilian, died in the fire.

Closures have been ordered for areas of Los Padres National Forest affected by the blaze.

"It's heartbreaking that just weeks after the Thomas Fire devastated the Central Coast, our community is again facing bad destruction and the tragic loss of family and friends", said Steve Ortiz, United Way of Santa Barbara County President & CEO, and Eric Harrison, President & CEO, United Way of Ventura County, in a joint statement.

George Rose via Getty Images Fire, smoke and ash from the Thomas Fire is visible in the hills above Montecito, California, on December 13.

The Los Padres National Forest is closed to the public within the Thomas Fire perimeter and level three restrictions are in place for the rest of the forest. Up to 4 inches of rain fell on the Montecito area.

"The only words I can really think of to describe what it looked [like] was it looked like a World War I battlefield", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.

On Friday, officials warned about the potential for additional mudslides, noting that the risk of flooding is high until vegetation returns ― which could take five years.

The federal Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) team and California Watershed Emergency Response Team (WERT) are assessing areas within the Thomas Fire for burn severity and identifying locations at risk for flooding, debris flows and other post-fire hazards.

Thomas Fire, California's Largest On Record, Is Now 100 Percent Contained