Thomas Fire Now the Largest Wildfire Recorded in California History; 427 Square Miles Burned

The Thomas Fire has burned 273,400 acres — or about 427 square miles — in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, authorities said Friday, making it the largest wildfire recorded in California history.

Residents watch the Thomas fire burn in the hills above La Conchita in Ventura County. (Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Residents watch the Thomas fire burn in the hills above La Conchita in Ventura County. (Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The blaze was 65 percent contained, Cal Fire said.

It has surpassed the Cedar Fire, which burned 273, 246 acres in San Diego County in 2003, according to Cal Fire records.

The Thomas Fire has cost more than $174 million and has destroyed more than 1,000 structures since it started in the foothills above Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula on Dec. 4, authorities reported.

The blaze has also been blamed for the deaths of two people.

Cory Iverson, a firefighter from San Diego, died Dec. 14 of thermal injuries and smoke inhalation while he was engaged in fire suppression efforts on the eastern flank of the blaze.

On Dec. 6, authorities recovered the remains of 70-year-old Santa Paula resident Virginia Pesola in a fire evacuation zone. She died of blunt force trauma with terminal smoke inhalation and thermal injuries, according to the county medical examiner.

As of Friday, all evacuations in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties have been lifted.