Thomas Fire largest wildfire in California history at 273400 acres

Image Mike Eliason Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Image Mike Eliason Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Conditions have improved in recent days, with cooler, more-humid winds lessening the threat to homes and other buildings, the AP reported.

The fire is the largest blaze in modern California history.

The Thomas fire has swept through 273,400 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties since December 4 and is still only 65 percent contained, according to a report released by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.

The fire previously topped Cal Fire's list of the top 20 largest wildfires in California, the oldest entry on which dates to 1932.

More than two weeks after traveling to California to help fight the Thomas Fire, personnel from the Oregon Department of Forestry districts and the Coos and Douglas Forest Protective Associations will be back in Oregon for the holiday weekend.

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In an update Friday night, incident commanders said the Thomas Fire has blackened 273,400 acres, surpassing the previous record holder - the Cedar Fire, which charred 273,246 acres in San Diego County in 2003.

On Thursday, authorities cancelled the last evacuation notices still in effect for Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Though the Thomas Fire is now 70 percent contained, there are still more than 2,000 firefighters working the blaze, and for many of them, it's their first Christmas ever fighting a wildfire. The Thomas fire had already burned an area larger than Manhattan but has spread to an area larger than "New York City, Washington, DC, and San Francisco combined" according to CNN.

Brush and timber in the area remain tinder dry, and fire crews are setting backfires to burn it out, and that could add to the fire's size.

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