Is the Ventura County fire the biggest one in California history?
The Thomas Fire in Ventura County, California has been ripping its way through the area north of Los Angeles since the night of December 4th. As of December 6th, the fire has consumed about 65,000 acres. But is this the most destructive California wildfire in history?
The Thomas Fire began as a brushfire in the city of Santa Paula, 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The inferno grew to 33,000 acres overnight by the morning of December 5th. Fanned by Santa Ana winds and fed by undergrowth, the blaze kept growing, and as of December 6th, it has engulfed 65,000 acres in Ventura County and reached the Pacific Ocean. It is currently 0 percent contained.
"It's one of the biggest ones ever," Scott Dettorre, a captain with the Ventura County Fire Department, told Buzzfeed News. "I have been doing this for 32 years and I haven't seen anything like it. It's insane how fast it moved."
The Ventura County Fire Department tweeted on December 6th that 50,000 people were evacuated due to the fire.
But despite the destruction and havoc the Thomas fire has caused, it is still not the largest in California’s history. The San Diego County Cedar fire in October 2003 is the biggest fire to ever occur in the state. The blaze swallowed up 273,000 acres and destroyed 2,820 structures. It started when a lost hunter lit a fire and went on to kill 15 people.
The fire in Ventura County is expected to keep spreading, though, since strong winds and dry weather are forecast for December 6th and 7th. Currently about 12,000 structures are in danger of the blaze, but thankfully, no deaths have been reported.
We hope that the Thomas fire doesn’t set a new record, and that firefighters are able to contain it quickly and safely. Stay strong, Los Angeles.