Thomas Fire close to largest in state history

The Thomas fire is currently the third largest wildfire in modern California history, and it is closing in on becoming the biggest.

As of Monday morning, the blaze has burned 270,500 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and is 45 percent contained, according to Cal Fire. The largest wildfire in state history, the San Diego area Cedar Fire, burned a total of 273,246 acres.

Over the weekend, the Thomas Fire destroyed multiple expensive homes in Montecito. In all, the blaze has now destroyed 1,024 structures.

Another 250 structures have been damaged, and 18,000 structures are currently threatened. The fire is still threatening areas of both Montecito and the city of Santa Barbara.

On Sunday, two firefighters suffered injuries while battling the Thomas fire. One firefighter was airlifted out of Rose Valley near Ojai, according to the Ventura County Air Unit.

Thus far, there has only been one death. Fire engineer David Iverson, 32, died, leaving behind a pregnant wife and a 2-year-old daughter. Medical examiners have now determined Iverson’s cause of death to be thermal injuries and smoke inhalation.

Likewise over the weekend, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office announced that a hash lab was discovered in a Montecito evacuation zone. After firefighters spotted the lab on Wednesday, sheriff’s investigators searched the home while flames from the Thomas Fire were bearing down on the residence.

Deputies seized 300 to 500 pounds of cut marijuana, numerous cans of butane fuel, 15 to 20 pounds of hash and a small amount of finished marijuana concentrate products. Investigators have identified a couple persons of interest in the case.

On Monday, winds are expected to shift from northeast to south to southwest. Also, officials expect that cooler temperatures and relatively higher humidity will aid firefighters.