Cold weather helps firefighters bring Thomas fire to 88 percent containment

By Daniel Uria  |  Dec. 26, 2017 at 4:53 PM
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Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Cold weather helped firefighters gain an upper hand on the Thomas Fire as the blaze nears full containment.

The Thomas fire, the largest fire in California's recorded history at 281,620 acres, was 88 percent contained with "very little active fire" on Tuesday, according to Cal Fire.

"No forward progress of the fire is expected at this point. Firefighters are building upon previous gains by strengthening established containment lines adjacent to communities and other infrastructure," Cal Fire said.

Fire officials said the efforts to combat the blaze were aided by light winds and chilly overnight temperatures on Christmas Day, which helped prevent the fire from growing overnight.

Fire crews also patrolled the blaze on Tuesday to track hotspots and shore up containment lines in an effort to prevent the fire from approaching the Los Padres National Forest or coastal and valley homes.

Two deaths have been attributed to the fire, which has also destroyed 1,063 structures, including 775 homes, and damaged 280 more since it broke out on Dec. 4.

All mandatory evacuations relating to the fire have been lifted and the fire's active presence in cities such as Fillmore and Santa Barbara has diminished.

The number of firefighters assigned to combat the blaze has also been decreased to 900, down from as many as 3,000.

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