Thomas Fire Now Largest In California History, Fire Officials Say

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LOS ANGELES (CBS News) — A California wildfire that has killed two people and seared its way through cities, towns and wilderness northwest of Los Angeles became the largest blaze ever officially recorded in California on Friday, authorities said. The fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties had scorched 273,400 acres, or about 427 square miles of coastal foothills and national forest, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Thomas fire took only 2 ½ weeks to burn its way into history books as unrelenting winds and parched weather turned everything in its path to tinder – including more than 700 homes.

The fire is 154 acres larger than California’s previous fire record holder – the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego County that killed 15 people.

The Cedar fire had been recognized as the biggest California wildfire in terms of acreage since 1932. Some fires before that date undoubtedly were larger but records are unreliable, according to state fire officials.

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