SANTA BARBARA (AP) — Firefighters are close to completing containment lines around the remnants of the huge and costly wildfire that scorched two Southern California counties this month.

Officials say the so-called Thomas Fire is 91 percent contained Thursday, with remaining active heat sources well inside the perimeter of the 440-square-mile burn area in coastal Ventura and Santa Barbara counties northwest of Los Angeles.

The fire erupted Dec. 4 and quickly became a wind-driven inferno, destroying 1,063 structures and damaging 280 others.

By late this month, firefighting costs topped $174 million as the wildfire became California’s largest on record.

The Los Angeles Times reports that only halfway through the state’s current fiscal year, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has already spent $699 million battling wildland blazes, including October’s Northern California firestorms.

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