CALIFORNIA MUDSLIDES: Authorities say number of missing now 5

Firefighters Contain Largest Wildfire on Record

The Thomas fire, the largest wildfire on record in California and the trigger point for this week's deadly mudslides in Montecito, was declared 100 percent contained Friday. Heavy rains earlier this week, which caused land burned by the fire to create mudflows that buried neighborhoods, helped fully extinguish the blaze.

The Thomas Fire remains 92% contained and has burned 281,893 acres. Campfires are allowed only in designated-use sites, and no fires are allowed in the backcountry; portable stoves and lanterns (with an on-off switch) are only permitted with a valid California Campfire Permit.

The milestone reaffirmed 2017 as the most destructive fire season in the state.

Two deaths were reported in connection with the fire, which was driven by strong winds.

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"It's heartbreaking that just weeks after the Thomas Fire devastated the Central Coast, our community is again facing awful destruction and the tragic loss of family and friends", said Steve Ortiz, United Way of Santa Barbara County President & CEO, and Eric Harrison, President & CEO, United Way of Ventura County, in a joint statement.

The year-end tally does not include the Thomas fire.

As of Thursday, and eight more were missing, according to fire officials. The Cedar blaze claimed 15 lives and destroyed more than 2,800 structures, the paper reports. The fire started on December 4 in the Steckel Park area of Santa Paula near Thomas Aquinas College.

State Route 33 was also closed three miles north of Ojai between Fairview and Lockview Valley roads. Residents are advised to adhere to the closure order and stay out of the forest until Los Padres National Forest deems it safe for the public to reenter the area and to be mindful on any notices and warning put out by the Santa Barbara Office of Emergency Services and the Ventura County Office of Emergency Management.

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