Update Friday, 6:45 a.m.
The Thomas Fire grew just 200 acres last night, bringing its total to 272,800. Crews kept containment at 65 percent.
Crews fighting the 272,600-acre Thomas Fire withstood a significant wind event overnight Wednesday, allowing 600 acres of growth and increasing containment to 65 percent by Thursday night, according to Cal Fire.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Tribune
The winds did blow through the night, but by morning all the containment lines had held, and fire officials lifted all evacuation orders and warnings for the Santa Barbara County South Coast, allowing some 16,000 people to return home in time for the holidays.
More than 4,700 fire personnel are currently assigned to the blaze, down from a peak of nearly 9,000.
The fire is transitioning for unified command, which includes a variety of local, state and federal officials, to a federal Type 1 management team led by Mark Von Tillow of the U.S. Forest Service.
The Thomas Fire is 646 acres away from catching the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego County, which blackened 273,246 acres and is the largest wildfire recorded in California history.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to Cal Fire.
A look at the largest wildfires in California, per Cal Fire:
▪ Cedar Fire: Burned 273,246 acres. October 2003 in San Diego County. A lost hunter started the blaze to signal for help.
▪ Thomas Fire: Has burned 272,000 acres so far. Cause is under investigation.
▪ Rush Fire: Burned 271,911 acres in California, and 43,666 in Nevada. August 2012 in Lassen County. Started by lightning.
▪ Rim Fire: Burned 257,314 acres. August 2013 in Tuolumne County. Started by an illegal campfire.
▪ Zaca Fire: Burned 240,207 acres. July 2007 in Santa Barbara County. Started by sparks from grinding equipment during a water pipe repair.
Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton contributed to this report.