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Good news from the Thomas fire: Favorable conditions and a rescued mountain lion cub

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A Navajo Scout Fire crew from Four Corners in Arizona monitors the wildfire burning on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 in the wilderness along Highway 33 near Ojai, Calif. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
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California’s biggest wildfire on record did not grow overnight, officials said Tuesday morning.

The Thomas fire burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties held steady at 281,620 acres and was 88 percent contained, the U.S. Forest Service said. The blaze, which started on Dec. 4, is the largest to burn in California since official record-keeping began in 1932.

The fire has destroyed 775 homes and damaged 208.

Firefighting efforts were aided on Christmas Day by light winds and chilly overnight temperatures, officials said. On Tuesday, fire crews continued to patrol the blaze for hot spots and also worked to shore up containment lines in effort to stop the fire from moving deeper into the Los Padres National Forest or near coastal and valley homes.

The size of the force fighting the blaze at one point topped 8,000 firefighters but has since dwindled to about 900, the Forest Service said.

A controlled burn on the north edge of the fire last week cut off a future path for the blaze to spread out of control, officials said.

There was other good news.

On Friday, the city of Santa Paula announced that authorities had rescued a 40- to 60-pound female mountain lion cub that had wandered into town. The animal had burned paws.

“The cub appears to be an orphan cub and if it was not captured today, would’ve most likely starved and died,” the city said on Facebook.

It was taken by representatives of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to be treated and moved to a center, officials said.

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