California's Thomas wildfire now largest in state history

The blaze known as the Thomas fire in Southern California is now the largest in the state’s recorded history, fire officials said Saturday evening.

The Thomas fire has scorched 273,400 acres, or about 427 square miles of coastal foothills and national forest.

That makes the Thomas fire 154 acres larger than the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego that killed 15 people, officials said.

Thousands of firefighters and fleets of aircraft have been battling the Thomas blaze since Dec. 4. A firefighter and a woman fleeing the blaze died.

Days of unrelenting hot, gusty winds drive it through Ventura neighborhoods, incinerating entire blocks, and threatened the wealthy enclave of Montecito.

By Friday, however, humidity was higher, temperatures were cooler and the fire threat to homes in many areas eased. The fire continued to move slowly through forest but the blaze was 65 percent contained.

Fire officials said Saturday that any new growth in the Thomas fire will probably be attributed to controlled burns by firefighters, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“The main fire itself will not have any growth,” said Capt. Brandon Vaccaro of the California City Fire Department told the newspaper.

California’s list of worst fires dates only to the 1930s, but an 1889 fire in parts of Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties is considered by many to be the state's worst fire, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.