Fire Behavior Analyst breaks down the Thomas Fire

Fire specialist: Thomas Fire is 'very different'

Wildfire specialist Thomas Fire is...

VENTURA, Calif. - When it comes to fires Tim Chavez has seen a lot of them. Cal Fire's Fire Behavior Analyst is working his forty-first fire season and says the Thomas Fire is different from all the rest.

"The difference with this fire is the growth over the number of days and the wind and dry air for the number of days," Chavez said.

Chavez and others have been stationed at the Ventura County Fair Grounds during the Thomas Fire. He works with meteorologists to predict how the weather will impact the fire and what it will do next.

Ahead of forecasted Santa Barbara County winds on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning firefighters have been scouring Montecito looking for hot spots. Although the winds are expected to be similar to this past Saturday, Chavez and others are pointing out one major difference.

"Saturday we had a lot of open line, open fire edge up there," he said. "Now we've been hammering it for three days and we're really thinking we're going to have this out so it won't move around on us."

On the eastern flank of the fire in Ventura County firing operations are continuing. Fire crews burning off more than 10,000 acres of brush along Highway 33 above Ojai and into Rose Valley.

"We want to bring it out of the wilderness and into an area where we can get at it," Chavez said. "That's our objective."

Following these firing operations the Thomas Fire will grow to the largest fire in California history.

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