The largest wildfire that Southern California has seen since 1932 has finally been declared extinguished, more than six months after it broke out, CNN reports.
The news comes from the U.S. Forest Service, which made the announcement on June 1. According to the sources, Los Padres National Forest officials have formally stated on Friday that the Thomas Fire is “declared out.”
“There have not been any hot spots detected within the fire perimeter for more than two months,” notes the news release.
“Work continues however, as crews and equipment repair roads, trails and fences damaged by the fire and by suppression actions,” the U.S. Forest Service conveyed in the notice.
The Thomas Fire started on December 4, 2017, at approximately 6:35 a.m. and ended up setting ablaze 281,893 acres — a size of land larger than Dallas and Miami combined. Sixty-four percent of the affected area, namely 181,333 acres, is located within Los Padres National Forest.
The wildfire officially became the largest and most destructive in Southern California in nearly nine decades on December 23. The massive blaze was fully contained on January 12, but not before it had destroyed more than 1,000 structures throughout the state.
The inferno claimed the lives of two people, including 32-year-old Cory Iverson, an engineer with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). Iverson lost his life on December 14, while struggling to put out the flames. The Cal Fire engineer was married, had a toddler and a new baby on the way.
The cause of the wildfire remains unclear, CNN reported at the beginning of the year, after the Thomas Fire was 100 percent contained.
Regardless of how it started, the Southern California wildfire was fueled by strong Santa Ana winds and by the lack of rainfall in the fall and winter of 2017. The absence of precipitation turned the local vegetation, made up of brush, tall grass, and chaparral, into fuel, explained a bulletin from the U.S. Forest Service.
The “prolonged period of warm, dry and windy weather” also served to maintain the fire going and “worked in concert with the lack of rainfall to produce catastrophic wildfires,” stated the report.
The Thomas Fire laid waste to portions of Ventura and Santa Barbara, where it affected Carpinteria, the Inquisitr reported last year. The wildfire also roared through Ojai, Santa Paula, Fillmore, and Montecito.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, the Thomas Fire brought about catastrophic mudslides in Montecito, in Santa Barbara County, which resulted in 19 fatalities. The California mudslides provoked tremendous material damage, devastating dozens of homes and calling for an immediate evacuation of the area.
“In the weeks and months ahead, Los Padres National Forest will continue working with local groups, partners and stakeholders to develop a strategic approach to repair trails that were damaged in the fire and subsequent rain events,” concluded the June 1 announcement.