Calm winds have helped California firefighters make progress battling a massive blaze in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, but the fire is expected to eclipse the largest wildfire in recorded state history, officials said.

“We’ve had a very productive day again. It’s nice having a couple days in a row where we have good progress,” Deputy Chief Mark Brown of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, said Monday night.

The so-called Thomas fire has burned burned around 272,000 acres since it broke out on the evening of Dec. 4.

A respite from powerful winds allowed firefighters to reach 50 percent containment on the fire, and crews were taking advantage of calm conditions Tuesday by performing a controlled burn to remove swaths of dry brush along the fire’s northern edge.

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