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Thomas Fire in Southern California joins list of destructive blazes in the state

A wildfire in Southern California, dubbed the Thomas Fire, is now the biggest in state history. 

The fire has scorched 281,620 acres and destroyed 1,063 structures, according to officials. The blaze, which is 86 percent contained, also threatens 18,000 structures.

It’s currently unclear what sparked the Thomas Fire. 

Here’s how the blaze compares to a few other large-scale wildfires in 2016 and 2017.

Soberanes Fire – 132,127 acres burned

The Soberanes Fire was sparked by an abandoned, illegal campfire in July 2016. It was mainly fueled by chaparral, tall grass and timber. The fire burned for nearly three months before it was contained.

The fire cost at least $229 million, which was claimed by fire officials to be the most expensive fire the U.S. Forest Service had ever fought, the Los Angeles Times reported in October 2016.

The fire destroyed at least 50 homes and was the state’s biggest and most destructive wildfire of that year.

Long Valley Fire – 83,733 acres burned

The Long Valley Fire was first ignited in July of 2017. The blaze, which was located about two miles north of Doyle, Calif., and about 50 miles north of Reno, Nev., was contained 10 days after it first started.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, which was fueled by sagebrush and grass.

Modoc July Complex Fire – 83,120 acres burned

The Modoc July Complex Fire was first ignited in July 2017, but was 100 percent contained as of September 2017.

The fire, which was started by lightning, was fueled by grass, brush and timber. It was located in the Modoc National Forest in northeast California.

Detwiler Fire – 81,826 acres burned

The Detwiler Fire was first ignited in July of 2017, but was 100 percent contained as of October.

The fire destroyed 63 residences, 67 minor structures and one commercial structure. At least 13 other residences were damaged by the fire, which started in Mariposa County, about two miles east of Lake McClure.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said the cause of the fire was “a discharge of firearms on public lands.”

Salmon August Complex Fire – 65,888 acres burned

The Salmon August Complex Fire was started by lightning. The first ignition was in July of 2017. Only 87 percent of the fire is currently contained. Timber and brush serve as the main source of fuel.

The fire is located in the Marble Mountain Wilderness and the Klamath NF side of the Trinity Alps Wilderness, which are both located in North California.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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