Body of Woman Found at Thomas Fire Evacuation Site Is Identified

A body found in a canyon that was evacuated in the Thomas Fire was identified Friday as Virginia Pesola, 70, of Santa Paula.

She is the only confirmed fire-related death reported from the fire, coroner's officials said.

Her body was found Wednesday at a site of a crash along an evacuation route, officials said in a news release. She died from blunt force injuries, suffered smoke inhalation and burns.

Both the California Highway Patrol and the Ventura County Sheriff's Department Major Crimes Unit were investigating the incident.

As of Friday night, the Thomas fire burned more than 143,000 acres, destroyed nearly 500 structures and damaged 108 others, prompted tens of thousands of evacuations and a state emergency declaration. The fire has become among the 20 largest ever recorded in the state.

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