Thomas Fire Grows to 2nd Largest Fire in California History and is 55% Contained

UPDATE: Since this post, the fire grew to burn a total of 281,893 acres (440 square miles), making it the largest wildfire in modern California history (which was subsequently surpassed by the Mendocino Complex Fire of 2018, which burned a total of 459,123 acres).

The Thomas Fire has now burned 272,000 acres, making it the 2nd largest wildfire in California since accurate records of fires were maintained in 1932. Only the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego County was larger, at least as of tonight, at 273,246 acres. 

Cal Fire anticipates the Thomas Fire to continue burning until full containment is achieved by January 7th. That would mean the fire is expected to burn continuously for 34 days. As of tonight the Thomas Fire was 55% contained.

Areas of particular focus by firefighters are Montecito, Rose Valley and Fillmore. The area between Fillmore and Ventura along Highway 126 will remain in patrol status.

The Thomas Fire originated in Santa Paula the night of December 4th near county-managed Steckel Park, the Ventura Ranch KOA and Thomas Aquinas College (which the fire was named after).

The main store and cabins at the KOA were destroyed but much of the campgrounds is intact. Management indicates they will be rebuilding, with a goal of re-opening in the Spring.

The college did not sustain serious damage thanks to the efforts of firefighters, though there will still be extensive recovery costs. President McLean provides more information in the video below. Donations to help the school in its recovery efforts are accepted at