Thomas Fire chars 272,000 acres, reaches 55 percent containment; 2nd largest CA wildfire

VENTURA, Calif. (KABC) -- More than two weeks after the Thomas Fire first erupted in Ventura County, the 272,000-acre blaze appeared unwilling to be extinguished without a fight.

The new acreage reported Tuesday afternoon meant the fire was now the second largest wildfire in California history.

The inferno also reached 55 percent containment as its burn area was only about 1,000 acres smaller than the largest wildfire in state history. That fire, the Cedar Fire, ripped through 273,246 acres in San Diego in October 2003.

The unrelenting Thomas Fire began Dec. 4 in Santa Paula and has since spread through Ventura County and into Santa Barbara County.

Cal Fire San Diego Engineer Cory Iverson was killed while battling the blaze, which has destroyed 750 homes and 274 other structures. About 18,000 structures remain threatened, according to Cal Fire.

Full containment of the fire is not expected until Jan. 7, officials said.

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