Acre Thomas Fire in Southern California Now 100% Contained

Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Ryan Thomas hikes down steep terrain rendered barren by the Thomas Fire last month. Authorities announced Friday they had reached 100 percent containment of the fire which is the largest in modern California history

At one point, more than 2,800 firefighters were working to contain the fire.

"Los Padres National Forest would like to thank all the first responders and cooperators that responded to this incident over the last month and giving up the opportunity to spend the holidays with their families and the sacrifices they made", Cal Fire said Friday.

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

Two deaths were attributed to the wildfire - 70-year-old Virginia Pesola of Santa Paula who crashed her auto trying to escape and 32-year old San Diego fire engineer Cory Iverson who was killed battling the fire. Over 1,000 structures were destroyed, including many homes, and an additional 280 were damaged. He died with his wife of more than 50 years, Alice.

After the Thomas Fire, the next-largest wildfire in the state's history occurred in 2003, when the Cedar Fire near San Diego burned through 273,246 acres.

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Burned barren by the fire, the hills in the area made easy prey for recent heavy rains, loosing rivers of mud that found little resistance from the scant vegetation that remained.

U.S. Coast Guard Santa Barbara crews remove vehicles from the beach in Montecito.

The fire erupted December 4 in Ventura County, destroying hundreds of homes before it spread into Santa Barbara County and threatened more communities, including Montecito.

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.

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