December 2017 Southern California wildfires
The Thomas Fire is the fifth largest in modern Californian history.
The blaze raging in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties covers more ground than New York City. And as other, smaller fires are reined in, weather forecasts portend the Thomas Fire will spread.
- The Thomas Fire becomes the largest in Californian state history.
- Donald Trump approves California's request for an emergency declaration, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts across five Southern California counties.
- More evacuations are ordered as surging Santa Ana winds drive the 40-percent contained Thomas Fire, now the third-largest in California history, further westward in Santa Barbara County.
- New evacuations are ordered as the fires spread toward a string of California coastal cities. Santa Ana winds and rugged mountain terrain continue to hamper firefighting efforts. Authorities report the Thomas Fire is only 15 percent contained.
- A magnitude 5.3 earthquake, the strongest in the region in four years, takes place near Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California, being felt as far as Riverside. No injuries are reported.