Wildfires struck SoCal by surprise

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As Christmas neared, the biggest of the handful of wildfires plaguing Southern California in December, the Thomas fire, was close to becoming California’s largest wildfire on record but was no longer endangering homes or towns, according to the latest from the Los Angeles Times

As of Friday, Dec. 22, the blaze was 65 percent contained and had scorched an incredible 272,800 acres, claiming two lives. Since Dec. 4, the fire had destroyed 1,000 structures, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The fire began in Ventura County where it did the most damage, spreading to Santa Paula and the sleepy community of Ojai, and a week later triggered thousands of evacuations in Santa Barbara County in the well-heeled communities of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria. People in Ventura County and nearby were being allowed back in their homes in but some had no homes to return to.