Thomas Fire burns 230,000 acres. Fire information

Now at 10% containment

CARPINTERIA, Calif. - [Updated 12/10/17 6:00 p.m. PST]  - NewsChannel 3 Live Broadcast. Click Here and sign up for county emergency alerts at http://awareandprepare.org

The Thomas Fire has burned 230,000 acres. Total containment has decreased now to 10 percent.

A voluntary evacuation warning is in place for the area north of State Route 192 from Highway 154 to the Santa Barbara/Ventura County line.

Visit our Map Room for all the latest maps you might need in case of an emergency.

Approximately 754 structures have been destroyed so far with 162 others damaged. 18,000 structures are threatened by the fire.

There are over 5,773 fire personnel actively fighting the Thomas Fire. At least 30 helicopters are being used to fight the fire. Also included: 762 engines, 41 water tenders, 60 dozers, 103 hand crews.

The cost of the fire to date is $33,986,000.

Evacuation operations will happen ahead of the westward fire growth. Contingency groups will work to create contingency line in Santa Barbara County in the areas of Windy Point, Camino Cielo and Foothills.


[Updated 12/10/17 5:00 p.m. PST] 

Voluntary evacuation warnings near Santa Barbara have been upgraded to mandatory evacuation orders. The area north of State Route 192/Foothill from Mission Canyon Road all the way to the Santa Barbara/Ventura County line.

The evacuation map can be found here.

A shelter for evacuees has been set up at UCSB.


[Updated 12/10/17 4:30 p.m. PST] 

The Thomas Fire has grown to over 200,000 acres as it makes its way farther into Santa Barbara County. The fire gained over six square miles overnight and Sunday afternoon burning over 50,000 acres.

Fire officials estimate that voluntary evacuation warnings could soon include the area north of Highway 192/Foothill Road from Highway 154 to the county line. 

The Thomas Fire is estimated to be the fifth or sixth largest wildfire in California history.

Santa Barbara County has announced they have canceled green waste and recyclable collections due to poor air quality. Solid waste pickup will continue as planned. This includes the areas of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito, Isla Vista and south coast unincorporated areas. 

Santa Barbara Humane Society is still accepting small animals for people under mandatory evacuations. Earl Warren Showground is still accepting large animals.


[Updated 12/10/17 3:30 p.m. PST] 

The Thomas Fire continues to creep west toward Santa Barbara. At around noon, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office increased their evacuation order the Montecito area north of Highway 192 from Hot Springs Road to the Santa Barbara and Ventura County line.

A voluntary evacuation warning is in effect for the area north of Alameda Padre Serra/South Salinas Street from Mission Canyon Road to Highway 101. That voluntary evacuation area includes the Cielito, Riviera, Eucalyptus Hill neighborhoods and the Montecito Country Club.  

The latest evacuation map can be found here. It will be updated as periodically as more evacuations are put in place. 

A community meeting will be held at 4 p.m. at San Marcos High School. The meeting will be broadcast on KEYT NewsChannel 3 and live streamed on our digital platforms.

For more information, please visit the Santa Barbara County Thomas Fire Information Page.


[Updated 12/10/17 6:28 a.m. PST] 

The Thomas Fire has now scorched approximately 173,000 acres. Containment remains at 15 percent.

Mandatory Evacuations have been issued for Montecito, east of Buena Vista Drive, north of Highway 192 to the county line. Residents in this area need to evacuate now.

The Sheriff’s Office has also issued a voluntary evacuation warning from east of San Ysidro to the County line and south of Highway 192 to the ocean. 

Mandatory Evacuation Order issued for north Carpinteria areas. Carpinteria - East of Toro Canyon Rd. East to Highway 150, North of Highway 192 to Camino Cielo. Evacuate now.

The Sheriff’s Office has also issued a voluntary evacuation warning from Nidever Road east to Highway 150 and south of Highway 192. This includes the City of Carpinteria.

To get up to date incident information, residents in the 805 area code can call 211. Outside of area code 805, call toll free 800-400-1572. You can also contact 211 via text or simply text your zip code to 898211.


[Updated 12/10/17 3:25 a.m. PST] 

Residents from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara were startled awake early Sunday morning when an evacuation order meant for an area north of Carpinteria was transmitted to a much wider group of people. Callers to NewsChannel 3 were confused by an alert to evacuate. Roughly a half hour later, a second alert was sent to mobile homes clarifying the extent of the evacuation.

Residents living north of Highway 192 and east of Toro Canyon Road have been told to evacuate immediately.  The Thomas Fire first spead into Santa Barbara County west of Ojai on Saturday afternoon.  The city of Carpinteria, and residents living south of Highway 192 are not part of the mandatory evacuation order, but should be alert to changing conditions.


[Updated 12/9/17 6:20 p.m. PST] 

The Thomas Fire now stands at 155,000 acres and containment remains at 15 percent.

4,435 personnel are currently battling the fire. The cost of the fire thus far? $25 million dollars.

88,407 residents have been evacuated as a result of the fire. That number includes people that remain at evacuation shelters.

710 structures have been destroyed and 163 others damaged.

The fire is now burning in Santa Barbara County by Divide Peak. Santa Barbara County Fire spokesperson Mike Eliason said this was to be expected and there is no reason to panic. However, everyone should still remain vigilant as they would any time there is a fire.

Fire officials are expecting an offshore flow this evening that is predicted to replicate those Santa Ana winds with gusts of at least 35 mph blowing in a north to northeast direction. We asked Unified Command if they expect any evacuations in Carpinteria and they said things are looking food for the community in Carpinteria at this time. 

If you feel the need to evacuate under the voluntary evacuations for any reason, please do so. Be prepared to evacuate if conditions change. For more information on how to prepare, go to http://www.readyforwildfire.org.


[Updated 12/9/17 3:45 p.m. PST] 

The Thomas Fire has officially crossed into Santa Barbara County. According to Santa Barbara County Fire Public Information Officer Mike Eliason, the fire crossed over Divide Peak and into Santa Barbara County.

Eliason said the fire crossing into Santa Barbara County was expected and fire personnel were ready for it.

The fire continues to be burn in a western direction. The fire has prompted the Los Padres National Forest to shut down access from the Ojai, Santa Barbara and Mt. Pinos Ranger Districts for the time being.


[Updated 12/9/17 6:50 a.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire has grown to 148,000 acres and is 15% contained. 3,993 fire personnel are currently battling the fire.

15,000 structures remain under threat in various parts of Ventura, Ojai, Casitas Springs, Santa Paula, Carpinteria, Fillmore, and unincorporated areas of Ventura County and Matilija Canyon.

Approximately 537 structures have been destroyed and 118 others damaged.

Fire officials say the Thomas Fire is expected to spread to the Sespe Wilderness and the Sespe Condor Sanctuary in Santa Barbara County.

All evacuation warnings for Carpinteria will remain in place until they can assess the behavior of the winds Saturday evening.

Officials say that while a Red Flag Warning will remain in effect until Sunday night, the winds for Saturday will diminish in the afternoon hours with week onshore flowing developing.

Firefighters continue to work aggressively to protect life and property while working on control efforts around the fire perimeter.



[Updated 12/8/17 7:30 p.m. PST]

Some evacuations have been lifted in the cities of Ventura and Santa Paula as well as some unincorporated areas of Ventura County.

Ventura: All mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders have been lifted in the city of Ventura with the exception of the area north of West Main Street and East of S/R 33 commonly known as "Ventura Avenue," and all neighborhoods north of Poli Street and Foothill Road in the city of Ventura.

Santa Paula: All mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted in the city of Santa Paula for the areas north of S/R 126 from the west end of the city of Santa Paula east to Willard Road and north to Bridge Road.


[Updated 12/8/17 6:00 p.m. PST]

Thomas Fire grows to 143,000 acres. Containment remains at 10%. The fire continues to move north into Los Padres National Forest. The fire has transitioned from a wind-driven fire to a fuels-driven fire, fire officials said at a Friday evening press conference.

The fire still threatens Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County. Nearly 4,000 firefighters are currently battling the Thomas Fire. The number of fire personnel is expected to increase over the weekend.

Approximately 712,000 gallons of water have been dropped on the Thomas Fire. Watch the press conference below.

Special weekend morning coverage of the Thomas Fire begins Saturday, Dec. 8 at 5:00 a.m. until 7:00 a.m. on KEYT NewsChannel 3, then, back from 8-9 a.m.


[Updated 12/8/17 8:35 a.m. PST]

Lighter wind patterns spared significant growth of the Thomas Fire toward Carpinteria overnight, but the blaze spread rapidly in areas north of Ojai and near Fillmore.  

Newly released figures from the firefight command center put the fire at 132,000 acres burned with 10% of the perimeter contained.  The fire spreads across a wide distance, from the Fillmore area to near Carpinteria and the Santa Barbara County line.

The fire has already destroyed 439 structures and damaged 85 others. 15,000 structures are threatened.

Fire commanders remain focused on protecting homes and buildings first. Crews are also trying to keep the fire from moving aggressively into more heavily forested land, or the Sespe Wilderness Area northwest of Ojai.

While the fire also grew on its western side, it did not cross Highway 150 and creep any closer to Carpinteria. Evacuation orders there issued on Wednesday and Thursday remain in effect.

3,528 people are currently assigned to battle the Thomas Fire.


[Updated 12/8/17 6:15 a.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire has grown to 132,000 acres burned, with 10% containment. Firefighters report the new numbers are the result of improved mapping procedures.


[Updated 12/8/17 3:30 a.m. PST]

Firefighters continued their battle with the Thomas Fire overnight into Friday morning, aided by reduced winds which appear to have prevented the fire from spreading as rapidly as previous days. 

NewsChannel 3 crews went up and down Highway 150 after 2:30 a.m. and did not see flames building on the edge of Santa Barbara County as had been spotted on Thursday.  Live coverage from the fire begins at 5:00 a.m. on NewsChannel 3 and KCOY 12 Central Coast Local News.

Mandatory evacuation orders remain in effect for residents who live East of Bailard Avenue in Carpinteria. Evacuation orders are also in place for those who live between Highway 150 and an alignment of Casitas Pass Road to East Camino Cielo north of Highway 192.  

Residents west of the Casitas Pass - Camino Cielo alignment to Toro Canyon and south to Highway 101 remain under a voluntary evacuation order (leave now or be prepared to leave quickly.)  Map of affected areas can be viewed here.

On Thursday night local residents crammed a meeting with fire and public safety officials at Carpinteria High School.  That meeting can be viewed here.  (Meeting begins about one hour 19 minutes into the video.)  Officials told residents they were committed to do everything possible to prevent more damage and destruction of property.


[Update 12/7/17 6:00 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire has grown to 115,000 acres and remains at 5 percent containment. The number of structures destroyed in Ventura County now stands at 439 and 85 structures damaged.

Fire officials are holding a live press conference. Watch it below.

[Update 12/7/17 2:12 p.m. PST]

Fire officials held an impromptu press conference in Faria Beach Thursday afternoon. In it they confirmed a palm tree farm, often a well-known site for travelers up and down the coast, burned down in Thursday's fire flare-up.

The Thomas Fire came dangerously close to homes but firefighters were able to prevent any homes from burning up after an hour's firefight.

The Thomas Fire stands at 96,000 acres and is 5 percent contained, although those numbers are expected to change. Over 2,500 firefighters from different states are battling the blaze. At least 50,000 people have been evacuated and 15,000 structures remain threatened. 

Ventura County Fire Capt. Rich Macklin said that if the predicted winds materialize later this evening, this fire will cross into Santa Barbara County and the community of Carpinteria will be heavily impacted. Watch the press conference below.

[Update 12/7/17 9:25 a.m. PST]

The dead body discovered in Wheeler Canyon last night was near the site where a dog was killed in a traffic accident on the first night of the Thomas Fire. The Ventura County Sheriff's Dept. confirms the discovery of the body, but has not yet linked that discovery to the fire.


[Update 12/7/17 7:30 a.m. PST]

Ventura County Sheriff's deputies report a body was discovered in Wheeler Canyon southwest of Santa Paula, where the Thomas Fire originally broke out.  Deputies have not yet determined if the death is related to the brush fire.


[Update 12/7/17 6:20 a.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire is now estimated to have burned 96,000 acres.  Containment remains at 5%.


[Update 12/6/17 8:40 p.m. PST]

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office issued a mandatory evacuation warning for areas in and near the city of Carpinteria.

All areas from the 5500 block of Casitas Pass Road (Highway 192) east to the county line to include Lillingston Canyon and Cate Mesa, and all addresses north to the county line are included in the evacuation warning. 

Also included: All addresses along the east side of Bailard Ave. from Hwy 101 and all areas south of Hwy 101 to the coast and east of Dump Rd, to include all of the Bates Road and Rincon areas.


[Update 12/6/17 6:00 p.m. PST] The Thomas Fire exploded to 90,000 acres by Wednesday evening and it's 5% contained at this time. Those numbers are expected to change.

Fire officials say the containment at this time is on the southeast portion of the fire.

Firefighters expect a challenging night ahead, officials said in a press conference scheduled Wednesday evening. Watch the press conference video below for more information.


[Update 12/6/17 3:30 p.m. PST] Ventura County emergency officials say Highway 33 is now open in both directions. Additionally, the Thomas Fire is expected to be fully contained on Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017 at 9 p.m., according to Los Padres Forest Service officials. The fire is currently zero percent contained.

For an evacuation guide, visit http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Go-Evacuation-Guide.

[Update 12/6/17 8:54 a.m. PST] From the Thomas Fire Command Center:  

The fire continues to burn actively with extreme rates of spread and long range spotting when pushed by winds. The fire is established on the north and east side of Highway 150 and is also burning on the west side of Highway 33.

The fire has pushed northwest of Ventura and has reached the Highway 101. Firefighters continue to work aggressively to protect life and property while working on control efforts around the fire perimeter.


[Update 12/6/176:45 a.m. PST] The Thomas Fire has grown to 65,000 acres.  There is still zero containment.


[Update 12/5/17 11:19 p.m. PST] The community of La Conchita is under mandatory evacuation, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. Alerts began at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the request of Cal Fire.

Areas east of Highway 33 in Ojai and Casitas Springs are also under mandatory evacuation.

About 50,000 residents are under mandatory evacuations.


[Update 12/5/17 9:00 p.m. PST] Incident Command for the Thomas Fire is now reporting the fire stands at 55,000 acres with zero percent containment. 12,000 structures are threatened as this wind-driven fire continues to spread rapidly. The fire is burning on the north and east side of Highway 150 and on the west side of Highway 30.

Resources include: 362 engines, four water tenders, 13 helicopters, 32 hand crews, 19 dozers, 1,776 personnel.


[Update 12/5/17 8:18 p.m. PST] The Thomas Fire has jumped the US 101 at the Solimar Beach area. Reporter Amanda Valdes is on scene covering the fire and says the Thomas Fire is burning on both sides of Highway 101 and just within 200 feet from homes in Solimar. Fire crews are on scene trying to save these homes.

There is a mandatory evacuation for the Solimar community.


[Update 12/5/17 6:00 p.m. PST] Thomas Fire estimated to be 50,500 acres with zero percent containment.


[Update 12/5/17 4:30 p.m. PST] Fire and law enforcement officials held a press briefing late Tuesday afternoon regarding the latest update on the Thomas Fire. Over 150 structures are either damaged or destroyed with approximately 3,000 others threatened. Conditions remain very dry with weaker winds Tuesday night and Wednesday. However, winds expected to increase in strength by Thursday morning.

When addressing why Ventura County has not seen a fire like this in the area for a long time, officials explained that in the last ten years the area would get a little bit of rain in fall before heavy Santa Ana winds arrived. That is not the case this year, according to fire officials.

At least 27,000 residents were evacuated in a 2-3 hour period. Officials thanked residents for heeding their warnings and obeying orders to evacuate allowing firefighters and law enforcement to do their job.

One firefighter was injured on the first day of the fire. Officials confirmed that firefighter has been released and is at home.

The Ventura County Fire Department released am updated fire map Tuesday afternong. Click here to view it.


[Update 12/5/17 1:30 p.m. PST] The Thomas Fire has now burned over 50,000 acres and it's zero percent contained. An estimated 27,000 people have been evacuated with the number of homes destroyed expected to increase.

[Update 12/5/17 7:55 a.m.] The Thomas Fire in Ventura County has now blackened 45,500 acres, according to fire officials. The fire is zero percent contained.

Click here for a map of evacuation areas.

For a list of school closures, click here.


[Update 12/5/17 6:15 a.m.] A new mandatory evacuation order is in effect for the area north of Loma Vista Road in Ventura, from Atwood to Victoria Avenue.  Voluntary evacuations are urged for residents north of Loma Vista from Victoria to Wells Road.

All Ojai District schools are closed today due to the fire conditions.


[Update 12/5/17 6:05 a.m.] 150 structures have burned to the ground, including homes and a 60+-unit apartment complex as the Thomas Fire continues to burn out of control between Santa Paula and Ventura early Tuesday morning.

NewsChannel 3 crews report scenes of devastation in both communities as the flames continue to spread, fanned by winds gusting to more than 40 miles an hour.

The blaze has burned 31,000 acres, with firefighters from across the state in the city of Ventura trying to save as many homes as possible.

27,000 people have been evacuated from their homes.

Power outages directly related to the fire plagued Santa Barbara and Ventura residents, but most electric service was restored by 2:30 a.m.

As of 6:00 a.m., all eight schools in the Ojai District are closed for the day.


[Update 12/5/17 2:15 a.m.] About 500 firefighters from across the state are in Ventura combating the Thomas Fire. Multiple homes have been confirmed destroyed by flames. 26,100 acres have burned and the fire is currently 0 percent contained. Fire personnel are currently focusing on saving homes. Ventura County Fire has released an updated version of the fire map.



[Update 12/5/17 1:25 a.m.] - The Thomas Fire has burned 25,000 acres in Ventura County. Firefighters from across the state are in the city of Ventura trying to save as many homes as possible. Dozens of homes have already caught fire, many of them completely destroyed.


[Update 12/5/17 12:45 a.m.] - The Ventura Police Department announced mandatory evacuations for the western edge of Ventura including neighborhoods from Main Street to Shell Road. 


[Original Story- 12/4/17]

Firefighters are on scene of a rapidly spreading wildfire near Steckel Park and Thomas Aquinas College in the Santa Paula area of Ventura County.

The Thomas Fire, which was reported shortly before 6:30 p.m., has already burned over 10,000 acres according to fire officials. Massive power outages from Goleta to Camarillo affecting hundreds of thousands of residents have been reported and possibly connected to the fire.

Click here to see power outage map.

The fire is being driven by strong winds approximately 20-30 mph in an area that has not burned in two or three decades, Ventura County Fire Capt. Stan Ziegler said.

The Ventura County Fire Department has corrected an erroneous report of one person killed in a car crash related to the fire Monday night.  The death was a dog riding in a vehicle.

"This is not a surprise, we knew this was going to happen," added Ziegler.

The Thomas Fire is burning towards the cities of Santa Paula and Ventura threatening thousands of homes that are now under mandatory evacuations. The fire is expected to impact east Ventura by 1 a.m. Tuesday.

There is a mandatory evacuation order for homes east of Dickenson Road, North of Monte Vista Drive along Highway 150, South of Thomas Aquinas College to the area of Bridge Road, west of Dickenson Road to Atmore Road, north of Foothill Road and west to Wheeler Canyon Road, north of Highway 150 from Koenigstein Road west to Dennison Grade, north to Reeves Road, east to McAndrew Road, and north to Grand Avenue.

Also under Mandatory Evacuation: 2,321 Ventura County Alert contacts north of Foothill Road west to Wheeler Canyon Road, north to Canada Larga Road and east to Barlow Canyon Road. 7,291 VC Alert contacts in Ventura, CA south of Highway 33, east of Main St, north of Foothill Road and Hall Canyon Road and west of Canada Larga Road.

Two evacuation shelters have been set up: Ventura County Fairgrounds at Miners Building located at 10 W. Harbor Boulevard in Ventura; Nordhoff High School located at 1401 Maricopa Highway in Ojai.

An animal shelter is available at the Ventura County Fairgrounds for all evacuated animals.

At least two structures were lost and others reportedly burning in the Wheeler Canyon area.

Residents feeling threatened or in immediate danger are advised to leave the area immediately rather than wait until they are told to do so.

Road closures include Wheeler Canyon Road at Foothill Road, Highway 150 at Reeves Road, and Highway 150 at Santa Barbara Street.

Hard Road Closures include Highway 150 at Sisar Road, Highway 150 at Stonegate Road, Wells Road at Foothill Road, and Peck Road at Foothill Road. Only public safety personnel will have access.

Firefighters have mounted an aggressive fire attack as more resources from out of the area and nearby counties come to assist with the firefight. The nighttime and strong winds remain a big obstacle for firefighters who established structure protection groups to begin protecting all of the nearby homes threatened by the Thomas Fire.

Due to nighttime and weather conditions, aircraft support has been suspended.

Thomas Aquinas College is home to nearly 400 students, all of which were evacuated due to the fire. Anne Forsyth, a spokesperson for the college, said many students are staying with friends and family, and those that don't have family in the area will be staying at the homes of school personnel.

The Santa Paula Unified School District announced Monday night that all Santa Paula schools will be closed on Tuesday due to the Thomas Fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. For additional continuous information, visit http://readyventuracounty.org.

KEYT NewsChannel 3 Reporter Tracy Lehr on scene of the fire.

KEYT NewsChannel 3 Reporter Alex Biston on scene of the fire.

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