Here are the 5 largest California wildfires

The Thomas fire on Friday became California’s largest wildfire on record, burning 273,400 acres.

The massive fire, which has raged for weeks through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, has claimed just over 1,000 structures and San Diego fire engineer Cory Iverson died fighting the fire last week. As of Friday evening, it is 65% contained.

Here’s a look at how the blaze compares with four other major wildfires in the state’s history:

Thomas fire in Ventura County
An aerial view shows burned-out homes in Ventura County following the Thomas fire. Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

1. Thomas fire — 273,400 acres*

December 2017

Counties: Ventura and Santa Barbara

Cause:  Under investigation

Structures destroyed: 1,063*

Deaths:  2

* Information may change until fire is contained

A water-dropping helicopter attacks flames in the town of Descanso, east of San Diego, while fighting the Cedar fire in 2003. Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

2. Cedar fire — 273,246 acres

October 2003

County: San Diego

Cause:  Human-related

Structures destroyed: 2,820

Deaths:  15

3. Rush fire — 272,200 acres*

August 2012

County: Lassen

Cause:  Lightning

Structures destroyed: 0

Deaths:  0

* 271,911 acres burned in California; 43,666 burned in Nevada

Rim fire
The Rim fire burned a quarter of a million acres in and around Yosemite National Park in 2013. Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

4. Rim fire — 257,314 acres

August 2013

County: Tuolumne

Cause:  Human-related

Structures destroyed: 112

Deaths:  0

Zaca fire
A plane is used to battle the Zaca fire in 2007. Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times

5. Zaca fire — 240,207 acres

July 2007

County: Santa Barbara

Cause:  Human-related

Structures destroyed: 1

Deaths:  0

Support our journalism

Already a subscriber? Thank you for your support. If you are not, please consider subscribing today. Get full access to our signature journalism for just 99 cents for the first four weeks.


Before and after: Where the Thomas fire destroyed buildings in Ventura

Here are all the major fires in Southern California


7:10 p.m.: This article was updated after officials declared the Thomas fire as the largest wildfire in California history.

This article was originally published at 2 p.m.