VENTURA -- President Trump on Tuesday declared a major disaster in California over a wildfire that destroyed more than 1,000 buildings as fierce winds whipped it through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties last month.
The declaration makes federal funding available to state and local governments and some nonprofit organizations for emergency work in those counties and statewide for work to reduce hazards related to the fire, according to a White House statement.
The Thomas Fire that began on Dec. 4 is the largest recorded in the state. It was 92 percent contained on Tuesday. Firefighters were still putting out hot spots and smoldering areas.
The fire covered more than 281,000 acres (440 square miles), killed two people, destroyed entire neighborhoods, threatened coastal foothill communities, ravaged wilderness areas and cast a pall of smoke that shuttered businesses in downtown Santa Barbara.
Firefighting costs alone have approached $200 million.