Wildfire

Thomas Fire now 100% contained

Largest wildfire in California history

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - [Updated 1/12/2018 8:49 a.m.]

The Thomas Fire is now 100% contained after burning 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties since early December. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Only 13 personnel remain on scene at this time. Incident Command released the following statement:

After the over flights yesterday, the Thomas Fire is now at 100% containment.

The forest closures within the footprint of the Thomas Fire remain in effect until further assessments can be made and deemed safe for the public to re-enter.

Los Padres National Forest would like to thank all the first responders and cooperators that responded to this incident over the last month and giving up the opportunity to spend the holidays with their families and the sacrifices they made. We would also like to thank the local and surrounding communities for their understanding and support during this time.

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[Updated 1/3/2018 11:00 a.m. PDT] 

The fire remains at 92 percent contained and 281,893 acres in size. 458 personnel remain fighting the Thomas Fire. Officials established Saturday, January 20, 2018 as the fire's new containment date.

The following is Wednesday's update from Incident Command:

Helicopters dropped water Jan. 2 in the Hartman Ranch and Rose Valley areas. Weather permitting, helicopters also will be used in the Bear Heaven area, where steep and rocky terrain makes direct attack by firefighters unsafe.

Crews are repairing landscape impacted by the construction of wildfire containment lines and other suppression activities. More than 157 miles of suppression repair to fire lines has been completed out of about 279 miles of containment lines. 

Motorists and visitors should use caution as crews and heavy equipment remain active in and around the fire vicinity, even in areas without active wildfire. Suppression repair crews are particularly active along the East Camino Cielo between Highway 154 and Painted Cave Road. Crews are also working around the Rose Valley area, progressing toward Pine Mountain.
 
The Los Padres National Forest is closed to the public within the Thomas Fire perimeter on the Santa Barbara and Ojai Ranger Districts. The Sage Hill Group Campground is temporarily closed while fire crews use the area as a base camp.

Level 3 fire restrictions are in effect for the Los Padres National Forest. Campfires are allowed only in designated-use sites, and no fires are allowed in the backcountry; portable stoves and lanterns (with an on-off switch) are only permitted with a valid California Campfire Permit.
 
The federal Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) team and California Watershed Emergency Response Team (WERT) are assessing areas within the Thomas Fire for burn severity and identifying locations at risk for flooding, debris flows and other post-fire hazards. The teams will turn over their data to Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management and Ventura County Office of Emergency Services, who will develop emergency preparedness and response plans for their respective communities.

County-based emergency service agencies are reviewing assessment reports from the BAER and WERT teams and working on emergency preparation plans for affected communities. After a wildfire, flood risk is usually highest until vegetation returns, which can take up to five years. Flood preparation information is available at www.countyofsb.org/pwd/floodprep.sbc for Santa Barbara County and www.venturacountyrecovers.org for Ventura County.
 
Closures: Download the revised the Los Padres National Forest’s Thomas Fire closure order and map. 
Flood Preparation: Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties are posting flood preparation and recovery information on the following websites: 
•    www.countyofsb.org/pwd/water.sbc
•    www.countyofsb.org/pwd/floodprep.sbc
•    countyofsb.org/thomasfire.sbc#recovery
•    www.venturacountyrecovers.org

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[Updated 12/29/2017 1:00 p.m. PDT] 

Los Padres National Forest officials opened the area of Mt. Pinos Ranger District to the public on Friday. The revised order prohibits access to only those areas within the Thomas Fire perimeter on the Ojai and Santa Barbara Ranger Districts.

Crews are performing wildfire suppression, repairing areas affected by fire-suppression activities, and performing wildfire severity and hazard assessments. This closure will remain in effect until it's safe for the public.

Fire Service will strictly enforce the closure order, which carries a penalty of up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail.

View a map of the revised closures here.

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[Updated 12/29/2017 9:30 a.m. PDT] 

A small flare-up in the hills off Gibraltar Road caused some concern among residents of Santa Barbara Friday morning.

Firefighters believe something smoldering may have caught unburned fuel, such as brush, on fire.

Two hand crews and two water-dropping helicopters kept the fire under control.

Additionally, fire officials say that the Thomas Fire base camp set up at the Ventura County Fairgrounds will be closing on Dec. 30, 2017. They will be moving Incident Command to a new location.

Here is a map of the current fire perimeter.

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[Updated 12/28/2017 9:30 p.m. PDT] 

The Thomas Fire is now 92 percent contained and acreage remains 281,893. 620 personnel are still on scene. The Forest Closure order has now shrunk to the Thomas Fire burn perimeter within the Santa Barbara and Ojai Ranger Districts.

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[Updated 12/28/2017 7:10 a.m. PDT] 

Thomas Fire Containment stands at 91%, and the acreage is 281,893.

Incident Command released the following update:

Yesterday evening, Operations Section Chief Alex McBath summed up today’s plan for the Thomas Fire as, “patrol, mop up, and hold what we’ve got.”  The fire has  little active heat. Identified heat sources have been well inside of the fire perimeter.  No forward progress of the fire is expected.

Visitors are encouraged to make plans to enjoy Santa Barbara, Ventura, and surrounding areas during the upcoming holiday weekend.  Businesses are open and eager to serve the public. Please be aware some sections of the Los Padres National Forest remain closed for public safety.

Reduced fire activity means there is little smoke. Firefighters remain vigilant in monitoring fire lines and are ready to respond when needed. We advise extra caution when driving.

When describing yesterday’s fire activity, Operations Section Chief Pat Russell said, “No smokes, no buckets.  And, we have a recon flight tomorrow.” He also described repair work being done on dozer lines and added the work would take several more days to accomplish.  Los Padres National Forest is assessing wildfire damage using a specialized Burned Area Assessment Team.  

The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management and Ventura County Office of Emergency Services are working with communities to prepare them for post-fire hazards, most specifically flooding and debris flows.

West of Cherry Creek Road still contains large areas of unburned fuels, and active fire is expected when weather conditions that support fire return.  In the coming days, people may see smoke, firefighters, and helicopters in this area, but there is no expectation that the fire will make any movement outside established containment lines.

Hotspots also remain in the Bear Heaven area. Air support is implementing water drops in that area due to steep, rugged terrain with limited access. Additional aircraft remain available in the event there are flare-ups or new fire starts in the area.

The Temporary Flight Restriction has been reduced in both size and altitude, opening Santa Barbara County and restricting flights in the Ventura County area to 8,500 feet.
 
Residents and visitors to Santa Barbara and Ventura counties may see an increase in wildlife in local communities due to displacement from the fire. Individuals who encounter these displaced animals are encouraged to maintain a safe distance, refrain from feeding them, and if a threat to humans is perceived, call 911 (https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/living-with-wildlife).
 
Fire Weather:  Wind: expected to remain light.  Temp: 70s/80s in lower elevations.  Humidity: 10-30%.  Rainfall chances are near zero through the end of the year into early January 2018. There is potential for record breaking  temperatures today and tomorrow.

Closures: Sr33/Fairview Rd. is closed. Portions of Los Padres National Forest remain closed. Download the closure order and map  on the Los Padres National Forest web page.  
 
Air Quality: Smoke may be visible at times due to interior hotspots that come to life as dry weather conditions persist. About 30 oil seep fires have been ignited in the Upper Ojai area and continue to burn. In addition to smoke and ash from the Thomas Fire these oil seep fires contribute to air quality issues in the area. Application of a foam product began on December 27 that is extinguishing the oil seep fires.

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[Updated 12/27/2017 8:47 a.m. PDT] 

Containment for the Thomas Fire has been increased to 89% and the fire has burned 281,620 acres as of Wednesday.

As full containment nears, personnel has downsized adequately to 688 personnel.

Although two back country areas had active fire yesterday, neither posed any threat to containment lines, according to officials. Fire officials say the Thomas Fire has very little active heat at this time and no forward progress of the fire is expected at this point. Some sections of the Los Padres National Forest remain closed for public safety.

Things have "settled down" west of Cherry Creek Road in Ventura County, according to Operations Section Chief Pat Russell. This section still contains large areas of unburned fuels however. Active fire is expected in these areas should the weather change. Officials add that residents may see smoke, firefighters, and helicopters in the area but the fire is expected to stay within containment lines.

Hotspots remain in the Bear Heaven area of Ventura County. Aircraft continue making water drops in that area due to steep and rugged terrain with limited access for ground crews. Additional aircraft remain on-call in the event there are flare-ups or a new fire starts in the area.

Firefighters remain vigilant as they continue to monitor fire lines and are ready to respond when needed.

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[Updated 12/26/2017 8:44 a.m. PDT] 

Containment for the Thomas Fire has been increased to 88%.

Fire officials issued the following:

The Thomas Fire has very little active fire at this time. Visitors are encouraged to make plans to enjoy Santa Barbara, Ventura, and surrounding areas during the upcoming holiday weekend. Businesses are open and eager to serve the public.

Be aware some sections of Los Padres National Forest remain closed for public safety. Reduced fire activity means there is little smoke. Air Quality reports indicate healthy conditions for outdoor activities, unless individuals have hyper-sensitivity to smoke.

Firefighters remain vigilant in monitoring fire lines and being ready to respond when needed. We advise extra caution when driving.

No forward progress of the fire is expected at this point. Firefighters are building upon previous gains by strengthening established containment lines adjacent to communities and other infrastructure. Repair work is underway to mitigate impacts from fire suppression activity.

Hotspots remain in the Bear Heaven area. Air support with water drops is being used due to steep, rugged terrain with limited access, as needed. Aircraft remain available in the event there are flare-ups or new fire starts in the area.

Residents and visitors to Santa Barbara and Ventura counties may see an increase in wildlife in local communities due to displacement from the fire. Individuals who encounter these displaced animals are encouraged to maintain a safe distance, refrain from feeding them, and if a threat to humans is perceived call 911.

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 [Updated 12/25/2017 12:00 p.m. PDT]

Fire officials are working through the Christmas holiday to keep us informed about the status of the Thomas Fire.

Monday morning, incident command said the fire is now 281,620 acres and increased to 86% containment. 

The increased acreage comes after a planned firing operation north of the main fire and west of Cherry Creek Road in the Ojai area on December 18.

Personnel assigned to the fire remains at 1,586.

According to the Los Padres Forest Twitter page, everyone at the command post in Ventura will be treated to a prime rib dinner with all the fixings for Christmas. 

The cause of this fire remains under investigation. 

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[Updated 12/24/2017 10:00 a.m. PST]

Containment of the Thomas Fire continued to grow. It is 70% contained and 273,400 acres in size as of Christmas Eve.

Only 1,586 personnel remain battling the largest wildfire in California history.

To date, 1,063 structures were destroyed while 280 others were damaged.

Thomas Fire officials issued the following update Sunday morning:

The fire line from Ventura to Santa Barbara is contained and secure. Even though fuels in the fire area remain critically dry, with shorter days and lack of significant winds, no forward progress of the fire is expected.

Firefighters are building upon previous gains by strengthening established containment lines adjacent to communities and other infrastructure. Mop up operations along the fire perimeter and active patrol are ongoing.

Repair work is underway to mitigate impacts from fire suppression activity. Firefighting crews and aircraft remain available to address flare-ups or new fire starts in the area.

Smoke seen yesterday near Tule Creek was from a hotspot that flared up well within the interior of the burned area. It posed no threat to nearby fire lines. Hotspots remain in the Bear Heaven area. Air support with water drops 1s being used due to steep, rugged terrain with limited access.

Residents and visitors to Santa Barbara and Ventura counties may see an increase in wildlife in local communities due to displacement from the fire.

Individuals who encounter these displaced animals are encouraged to maintain a safe distance, refrain from feeding them, and if a threat to humans is perceived call 911 (https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/living-with-wildlife).

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[Updated 12/22/2017 6:00 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire became the largest fire in California history on Friday. It has currently scorched 273,400 acres. Containment remains at 65%.

The record was previously held by the Cedar Fire that burned in San Diego County in October 2003 and burned 273,246 acres before being completely extinguished.

2,841 personnel remain fighting the Thomas Fire.

The fire broke out on Dec. 4, 2017 near the Thomas Aquinas College in the area of Santa Paula and quickly spread to neighboring Ventura City before making its push to Santa Barbara County ravaging the communities of Carpinteria and Montecito while threatening homes in the city of Santa Barbara and Summerland.

Approximately 63% of the fire is on federal lands. 140,862 acres are on National Forest System Lands.

To view a list of the top 20 largest fires in California History, click here.

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[Updated 12/22/2017 9:00 a.m. PST]

With firefighters continuing to make great progress, the Thomas Fire only grew to 272,800 acres overnight. It remains at 65% contained as of 7 a.m. Friday.

Strong winds did not produce any serious fire activity in the Montecito area, E. Camino Cielo, or Fillmore officials say. Crews are mopping up the E. Camino Cielo area to strengthen the fireline there.

To the north of E. Camino Cielo, direct and indirect firelines are being constructed towards the Zaca Fire footprint.

Backfiring operations in the Rose Valley area will continue Friday. East of Rose Valley, crews will continue direct fireline construction moving toward the Sespe Wilderness area where fire activity has been low.

Carpinteria, the Ojai Valley area and Highway 126 between Highway 150 and Fillmore are all in patrol status.

To date, the fire has cost approximately $174,243,000 million dollars and has destroyed 1,063 structures. 4,404 personnel are currently fighting the fire.

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[Updated 12/21/2017 6:00 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire has burned 272,600 acres and is 65% contained as of Thursday evening.

In a press briefing Thursday, officials said firefighters had to work hard Thursday to find smoke but were able to find hotspots to put out. Fire personnel continues to decrease while still maintaining the appropriate number of resources to continue choking the rest of the Thomas Fire. Current personnel fighting the fire stands at 4,729.

Thursday saw more backfiring operations on Highway 33. Backfiring operations will continue Friday. 

Officials said there is currently no fire movement on its eastern flank. The weather will continue to aid firefighters as winds continue to die down. Warn and dry days are expected as we head into the Christmas weekend.

1,063 homes have been destroyed in the fire to date. Full containment is expected by January 7, 2018.

Watch the press conference below.

 

 

[Updated 12/20/2017 6:30 a.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire burned only 200 acres overnight despite heavy winds forecasted in the burn area.

The fire has burned 272,200 acres and remains 60 percent contained. 

A dangerous wind event was forecasted for the Thomas Fire burn area which had firefighters on heightened alert, but fire growth was mild and containment remained unchanged.

The Thomas Fire continues to inch closer to becoming the largest fire in modern California history.

A community meeting will be held at 4 p.m. at San Marcos High School and a press conference will be held at the Ventura County Fairgrounds at 6 p.m.

The cause of the fire is still unclear.

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[Updated 12/20/2017 6:00 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire continues to stand at 272,000 acres burned, 60% contained as of Wednesday evening.

Fire officials are cautiously optimistic going into Wednesday night when strong winds, similar to those that pushed the fire into Montecito on Dec. 16, are expected to resurface. They assured the community of Santa Barbara and surrounding areas that they are prepared to receive that wind event.

Currently, 155 fire engines and 38 hand crews are at the ready in the foothills above Santa Barbara.

Fire resources are also staged in the area of Sespe Creek near Fillmore in anticipation of some strong winds there.

On Wednesday, firefighters continued their aggressive seek-and-destroy operations in Santa Barbara County to put out any hot spots that could pose a problem in Wednesday night's wind event.

Watch Wednesday's press briefing below.

 

 

[Updated 12/20/2017 6:04 a.m. PST]

Containment of the Thomas Fire grew overnight to 60%. Acreage remained at 272,000.

Strong winds are predicted for Wednesday evening that will create similar conditions to those experienced when the fire made its push into Montecito on Dec. 16.

"With the introduction of these winds, critically dry fuels will be highly receptive to fire spread," stated a press release by Thomas Fire officials. "Montecito will continue to be an area of concern, where north winds are funneled through the Santa Ynez Range."

The news release continued, "Resources will maintain a strong presence in Montecito, continuing tactical patrol and improvement of the fire perimeter. Firefighters will continue to strengthening fireline where line above the communities ties in to Gibraltar Road and the Tea Fire and Jesusita Fire footprints."

On the fire's eastern flank in Ventura County, "The area between Devil's Gate and Fillmore will be patrolled as will Ojai, Carpinteria and the area between Fillmore and Ventura along Highway 126. Fire spread in the Bear Haven area will be closely monitors."

Crews will continue fire suppression repair and damage inspection.

The firefight has cost $156,939,500 million to date.

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[Updated 12/19/2017 6:00 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire stands at 272,000 acres and is 55% contained as of Tuesday evening, according to fire officials. It is now the second largest fire in California history.

Personnel fighting the fire has been reduced to 6,851. 1,045 structures have been destroyed to date.

Thomas Fire officials are holding a press briefing at 6 p.m. from the Ventura County Fairgrounds to discuss the latest updates and developments in the firefight. Watch the press conference below.

 

 

[Updated 12/19/2017 7:15 a.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire has burned 271,750 acres as of Tuesday morning.  Containment stands steady at 50%. CalFire released this information about the status of the fire:

Minimal fire activity was observed overnight allowing crews to strengthen containment lines and continue mop up. Southwesterly winds are expected to develop this afternoon and continue into the early evening. Regular diurnal flow will continue over the fire area, bringing a slight increase in relative humidity.

Resources will continue fire suppression activities and tactical patrol in Montecito, and improve the fire perimeter.

While the weather conditions are improving with an increase in humidity recovery, and decrease in wind speeds, fuels remain critically dry. Mop up and strengthening of containment line in the Gibralter Road area will continue. 

Direct and indirect fireline construction extending to the north of the Camino Cielo will continue, tying into the Zaca fire footprint.  

Some hot spots to remain within the Ojai Valley area. The ongoing presence of suppression resources should mitigate any residual threat from fire.
The threat to Fillmore has decreased with the completion of line from town to Devil's Gate. Continued strengthening of control lines will help to further decrease threats.

On the north and east flanks of the fire, the fire continues to progress further into the Matilija and Sespe Wilderness and toward the Sespe Condor Sanctuary. Fire suppression repair and Damage Inspection will continue as appropriate based on fire conditions.

Repopulation will continue as threats in previously evacuated areas decreases.

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[Updated 12/19/2017 6:05 a.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire has burned 271,750 acres as of Tuesday morning.  Containment stands steady at 50%.

Approximately 1,044 structures destroyed to date with 104,607 residents affected by the Thomas Fire.  8,206 personnel are currently battling the fire.

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[Updated 12/18/2017 6:00 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire has scorched 271,000 acres as of Monday evening. Containment is now 50%.

Approximately 1,032 structures have been destroyed to date with 104,607 residents affected by the Thomas Fire. 8,094 personnel are currently battling the fire.

Fire officials held a press briefing Monday evening to discuss the latest developments in the firefight. Watch below.

 

 

[Updated 12/18/2017 5:26 p.m. PST]

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office announced that it will be sending approximately 22 law enforcement personnel to relieve the 30 or more personnel already in Santa Barbara helping with the Thomas Fire evacuations and road closures.

Agencies represented from San Luis Obispo County are: SLO County Sheriff's Office, Cal Poly Police Department, Pismo Beach Police Department, Cuesta Police Department, Atascadero Police Department, Paso Robles Police Department, Grover Beach Police Department, San Luis Obispo Police Department, and the Arroyo Grande Police Department.

Their responsibilities will consist mainly of standing guard at road closure points in and around the Thomas Fire to make sure residents are safely evacuated and to keep the area secure.

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[Updated 12/18/2017 10:00 a.m. PST]

Santa Barbara's 911 phone system is experiencing an overload of non-emergency calls due to the Thomas Fire.  Calls related to the fire and evacuations should go to:  (805) 681-5542.  Only true emergency calls should go to 911.

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[Updated 12/18/2017 9:30 a.m. PST]

From the city of Santa Barbara:

The Thomas Fire has created a large amount of ash which has been accumulating throughout the City of Santa Barbara.  Some of that ash has accumulated on City streets.  Most of the ash on City Streets is located in the gutter next to the curb.  The ash is not going to dissipate on its own, and must be removed.

The California Office of Emergency Services, the Santa Barbara County Health Department, and local experts have advised the City that the immediate removal of ash using street sweepers is key to keeping the ash from spreading. 

The City is using the latest technology regenerative street sweepers with high efficiency vacuum filtration systems.  The streets sweeper will pick up about 80% of the dust and ash in the first pass. However, some of the ash will be agitated by the street sweeper’s rotary brooms, and will create a dust cloud around the sweeper. 

Each pass of the street sweeper will yield a net positive gain, with less dust being sent into the air.  After a few passes, the dust cloud will subside.

Please remember to wear your N95 dust masks whenever you are near street sweeping operations.  It is best to avoid street sweeping areas for at least ½ hour after the street sweeper has left.  Remember to move your vehicles from the street on your designated street sweeping day to assist with the street sweeping efforts.

Thank you for your understanding and patience while we deal with the cleanup of this massive fire.

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[Updated 12/17/2017 6:00 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire continues to approach the top spot as the largest wildfire in the history of California.

The fire has burned 270,5000 acres and remains now 45 percent percent contained

Two days of relative calm and favorable firefighting conditions on the Santa Barbara County side has resulted in a slower rate of spread. Strong, powerful winds are still forecasted for the Ventura County side of the Thomas Fire.

Backfire operations are planned along Highway 33 in Ventura County, which will cause an increase in smoke in the area.

A community meeting will be held Monday at 4 p.m. at San Marcos High School and a media press conference will be held at 6 p.m. at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

Ventura County Fire said that due to the potential threat of life and structure loss, the Santa Barbara zone remains the top priority for firefighters. Repopulation into previously evacuated areas will continue as long as fire danger continues to decrease.

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[Updated 12/17/2017 6:00 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire has now burned 270,000 acres and is currently 45% contained.

During Saturday's firefight above the hills of Montecito, fire officials said only 15 structures were either destroyed or damaged out of over a thousand homes in the area. Two single-family residences were destroyed, seven others damages, and six outbuildings were lost to the flames.

Fire officials credited the fact most homes survived the inferno in Saturday's Thomas Fire flare-up to the diligence from residents who, along with several local agencies, prepared their homes with great defensible space and years of preparation.

Currently, 8,526 personnel are fighting the Thomas Fire, which has cost approximately $123.8 million to date.

During a Sunday evening press conference from the Ventura County Fairgrounds, fire officials acknowledged that two firefighters had suffered minor injuries while battling the Thomas Fire.

Watch the full press conference below.

 

 

[Updated 12/17/2017 6:15 a.m. PST]

The massive Thomas Fire continues to grow as it rages through Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

The fire has grown to 269,000 acres and is holding at 40 percent containment.

Winds were calm in Santa Barbara County overnight as the Red Flag Warning expired, but winds are expected to increase in strength Sunday morning in Ventura County.

8,529 fire personnel are assigned to the fire. No additional structures were destroyed overnight. The fire has cost $116,948,500 to date. 

The detailed incident update says of the firefighting conditions:

Critical fire weather combined with very high fuel loading, critically low fuel moistures, and single-digit relative humidities will continue to support fire growth on the west, east and north sides of the fire. Areas of concern are above the coastal Santa Barbara County communities, including Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Summerland, and also Matilija Wilderness, Rose Valley, and Sespe river drainage north of Fillmore.

GoFundMe for fallen firefighter Cory Iverson: https://www.gofundme.com/nmkkc-for-ashley-iverson-and-her-girls

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[Updated 12/16/2017 7:44 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire has now burned 267,500 acres and is currently 40% contained. It is now considered the third largest fire in California history.

There is currently 8,477 fire personnel fighting the Thomas Fire. This includes 973 engines, 92 water tenders, 32 helicopters, 161 hand crews, and 77 dozers along with 5 other types of firefighting equipment.

The fire has already cost $110,286,500 million dollars to date and destroyed 1,020 structures while damaging 229 others.

Very strong winds materialized at about 7 a.m. Saturday increasing fire behavior significantly in the Santa Barbara front country. The fire made an aggressive southward push into the community of Montecito. Red flag warnings will remain in effect.

The fire will continue to threaten Santa Barbara, Montecito and Summerland as more north/northeast winds are predicted to develop over the fire area.

North winds will also exasperate the threat to Fillmore and surrounding areas with fire being established in the Sespe drainage. 

On the north side of the fire, direct and indirect line construction will occur to contain fire that has spread north of Highway 33 and Rose Valley Road. Direct line construction, where possible, will continue within the Zaca Fire burn scar to Highway 33.

Thomas Fire officials held a press briefing Saturday evening to discuss the latest developments in the firefight. Watch it below.

 

[Updated 12/16/2017 2:58 p.m. PST]

The Santa Barbara Police Department says between 20,000 - 25,000 Santa Barbara city residents have been evacuated due to the Thomas Fire. Evacuation Map here

[Updated 12/16/2017 8:00 a.m. PST]

Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Dave Zaniboni said the fire has done what fire personnel were hoping it would not do. Strong winds are pushing the the fire through San Ysidro Ranch and towards Montecito and Santa Barbara.

Zaniboni said anyone in a mandatory evacuation zone north of Highway 192 needs to leave immediately.

Emergency vehicles need to be in the area and anyone in the area of the Montecito foothills should get out to give emergency responders as much room as possible to battle flames.

According to a National Weather Service spokesman, some gusts have exceeded 60 mph. 

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[Updated 12/16/2017 7:00 a.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire came alive Saturday morning as gusty winds made its way through the fire burn area. The mountainside ignited and began to spread in a westward direction at a high rate of speed.

The fire is actively burning burning in the Hot Springs drainage and along the north side of Santa Ynez range and running uphill.

All current evacuation orders and warnings remain in place, but may change at moments notice. 

Thomas Fire Public Information Office Steve Concialdi said anyone in a mandatory evacuation zone should leave immediately before smoke and emergency vehicle create complications.

Cal Fire would also like to remind anyone flying drones in the fire area that helicopters and planes cannot fly if drones are in the air.

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[Updated 12/16/2017 6:00 a.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire grew overnight, scorching over a thousand acres. The fire has now burned 259,000 acres. Containment is now 40 percent.

No additional structures were destroyed overnight.

A Red Flag warning was put in place at 2 a.m. Saturday morning, with a chance for powerful winds to increase the spread of the fire. Winds are expected to pick up Saturday afternoon.

Fire personnel were staged in the Montecito, Carpinteria, Summerland areas to battle flames and protect structures. 

The increase in acreage has made the the Thomas Fire the third-largest wildfire in the history of California. The Thomas Fire surpassed the Rim Fire which burned 257,314 acres in Tuolumne County in 2013 (view a list of the top 20 largest California wildfires in history here).

8,370 firefighters are battling the Thomas Fire. The cost of firefighting efforts has totaled over $103 million.

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[Updated 12/15/2017 6:00 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire stands at 256,000 acres as of 6 p.m. Friday. Containment remains at 35%. Stronger winds are expected later in the evening.

A total of 8,318 personnel are currently battling the fire with 1,009 homes destroyed to date. To break it down:

  • Ventura: 530 structures destroyed | 148 damaged
  • Unincorporated Ventura County: 454 structures destroyed | 84 damaged
  • Santa Barbara County: 23 structures destroyed | 5 damaged

Thomas Fire officials are holding a live press conference to discuss the latest developments against a fire that is on its way to becoming the third largest fire in California history. Watch the press conference below.

 

[Updated 12/15/2017 6:00 a.m. PST]

Latest numbers from the Thomas Fire show that the fire continues to grow.

As of 6 a.m. Friday morning the fire has burned 252,500 acres and is 35 percent contained. No additional structures were destroyed overnight; the previous total of 974 structures destroyed has decreased to 972.

Calm winds aided in Thursday night's firefighting, but heavy wind is forecasted for the Thomas Fire area on Friday.

A community meeting will be held at San Marcos High School at 4 p.m. and an evening press release is slated for 6 p.m. at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

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[Updated 12/14/2017 6:00 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire grew to 249,500 acres by Thursday evening. Containment grew to 35%.

8,316 personnel are currently fighting the fire, which has an estimated cost to date of $82,000,000. At least 974 structures have been destroyed since the fire began.

Fire officials held a press conference Thursday evening to discuss updated information on the fire. Watch it below.

 

[Updated 12/14/2017 1:17 p.m. PST]

From Los Padres National Forest said that over the next several hours a firing operation will be conducted in the Carpinteria area near the water treatment plant. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department said back firing operations are under way in the Montecito area near the Bella Vista water treatment plant. Another firing operation is also being conducted in the Rose Valley area of the Thomas Fire.

The public will see an increase in smoke and flames as a result.

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[Updated 12/14/2017 12:40 p.m. PST]

Sadly, one firefighter was killed in the line of duty fighting the Thomas Fire. The news was confirmed by Unified Command early Thursday afternoon. Full story here.

There is a Fillmore community meeting regarding the Thomas Fire Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at Fillmore Middle School.

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[Updated 12/14/2017 11:58 a.m. PST]

NewsChannel 3 is receiving reports of an injury involving a firefighter battling the Thomas Fire. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that incident occurred in the Fillmore area. The type of injury is unknown.

The Thomas Fire Incident Command said all firefighters on a line have a radio, and when a call for help goes out, they follow a protocol to ensure a fast response.

No further details were immediately known. We will provide updates on this developing story as we know more.

The fire is increasing activity in the Fillmore area. Thursday morning, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office re-affirmed the mandatory evacuations for: Hall Road to the west, Sespe Creek to the east Los Padres National Forest boundary to the north, and Fillmore city limits to the south. 

A voluntary evacuation warning has been issued for Goodenough Road. Residents in mandatory evacuation areas should leave immediately.

Those in voluntary evacuation zones should be prepared to leave on a moment's notice should a mandatory evacuation become necessary. 

There is a Fillmore community meeting regarding the Thomas Fire Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at Fillmore Middle School.

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[Updated 12/14/2017 6:19 a.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire currently stands at 242,500 acres and is 30% contained. Currently, 970 structures have been destroyed, 8,144 personnel are working the fire and 94,607 residents are either evacuated or affected.

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[Updated 12/13/2017 6:00 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire currently stands at 238,500 acres and is 30% contained.

To date, 930 structures have been destroyed and 202 others damaged. 18,000 structures remain threatened. We can break it down as follows:

  • DESTROYED: Structures destroyed in the city of Ventura: 527
  • DESTROYED: Structures destroyed in Unincorporated Ventura County: 394
  • DESTROYED: destroyed in Santa Barbara County: 9
  • DAMAGED: Structures damaged in the city of Ventura: 140
  • DAMAGED: Structures damaged in Unincorporated Ventura County: 59
  • DAMAGED: Structures damaged in Santa Barbara County: 3

8,083 personnel are currently battling the Thomas Fire. 

Fire officials held a press briefing to discuss new and updated information regarding the fire. Watch it below.

 

 

[Updated 12/13/2017 6:45 a.m. PST]

From Cal Fire:

Gusty Santa Ana winds will continue to battle with terrain driven winds. Most significant fire growth will occur to the west. Very high fuel loading, critically low fuel moistures, above average temperatures and single-digit relative humidity will continue to support fire growth on the west, east and north sides of the Thomas Incident.

Firefighters will remain engaged in structure defense operations and scout for opportunities to establish direct perimeter control. Fire will continue to threaten the communities of Santa 
Barbara, Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito and surrounding areas.

Fire line construction to the north of these communities will continue. Improvement of Camino Cielo for use as a control line will continue. 

Contingency groups will improve existing fuel breaks in Santa Barbara County, particularly in the areas of Windy Point and Foothills.

Direct line construction, where possible, will continue on the northern side of the fire within the Zaca Fire burn scar. 

To north of the Matilija Wilderness indirect line construction will continue in preparation for future burn operations.

In previously burned areas, continued mop-up  operations will occur in order to expedite repopulation efforts.

The area between Fillmore and Ventura along Highway 126 will remain in patrol status. Fire personnel will work to construct direct fire line with the support of aerial resources where possible on the east side of the fire. Scouting for establishment of indirect fire line will continue where needed.

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[Updated 12/13/2017 6:45 a.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire grew overnight to 237,500 acres and remains at 25% contained.  

As dawn breaks over the south coast, some areas will see clearer skies.  Wind patterns have shifted the direction of smoke from the fire; residents west of Santa Barbara are waking up to clearer skies, with mountains visible in the distance. 

To the East, the heavy smoke generated from the fire continues to blanket areas from Santa Barbara's eastside to Carpinteria.  Residents in Ventura and Oxnard are also reported heavy smoke yesterday, but should see clearer skies today.  Loss of the Santa Ana winds blowing smoke to the west allowed more of it to settle on the Oxnard Plain.

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[Updated 12/12/2017 6:00 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire stands at 236,000 acres as of 6 p.m. and is now 25 % contained.

7,852 personnel are currently dedicated to fighting this fire. The total cost to date of fighting the Thomas Fire is $55.6 million. A red flag warning has been extended to 10 a.m. in Ventura.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Fire officials held a press conference Tuesday evening. Watch it below.

 

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[Updated 12/12/2017 7:15 a.m. PST]

Air Quality predictions for Tuesday on the south coast have been updated.  You can see them here.

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[Updated 12/12/2017 6:30 a.m. PST]

The fire has grown to 234,200 acres with 20% containment, listed destroyed structures is said to be 889, with 182 damaged.

Personnel Stats: 6,946 personnel fighting this fire. 912 engines; 50 water tenders; 27 helicopters; 125 hand crews; 67 dozers; 3 other.

Cost to Date: $48,616,000

Thomas Fire officials say severe fire weather will continue to promote significant fire growth further into Santa Barbara County continuing to threat the communities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Montecito and Summerland.

In the north, and east, active fire will move further into the Sespe Wilderness and the Sespe Condor Sanctuary. Gusty offshore winds will continue to threaten structures in parts of Ventura, Ojai, Santa Paula, Casitas Springs, Fillmore, unincorporated areas of Ventura County, Murrieta Canyon and Matilija Canyon.

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[Updated 12/11/2017 7:46 p.m. PST]

From the Santa Barbara County Emergency Operations Center: "The flare-ups seen to the east of downtown Santa Barbara and the Riviera are being monitored and do not currently pose a threat. The fire is feeding on unburned fuels within the current parameter. Expect to see similar conditions throughout the night. Firefighters anticipate this fire behavior. Fire is more visible at night and appears closer than it is. Firefighters continue to remain in place providing structure defense in the affected area."

"Los brotes que se observan al este del centro de Santa Barbara y la Riviera estan siendo monitoreados y actualmente no represental una amenaza. El fuego esta alimentando de combustibles no quemados dentro del parametro actual. Espere ver condiciones similares durante toda la noche y aparece mas cerca de lo que es. Los bomberos continuan en su lugar proporcionando defensa de las estructuras en el area afectada."

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[Updated 12/11/2017 6:07 p.m. PST]

The Thomas Fire grew to 231,700 acres by Monday evening and containment increased to 20%.

Total personnel fighting this fire has increased to 6,946. 

18,000 are threatened. 869 structures were destroyed, and 94,607 people have been affected by the Thomas Fire.The total cost to fight the fire to date? $48 million dollars.

Gusty Santa Ana winds will continue to push the fire west. Very high fuel loading, critically low fuel moistures, above average temperatures and single-digit relative humidities will support fire growth on the west and north sides of the Thomas Fire.

Firefighters will continue structure protection operations and look for opportunities to create direct perimeter control.

The Thomas Fire will continue to threaten the communities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito and surrounding areas.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Watch a press briefing with fire officials held Monday at 6:00 p.m.

 

 

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[Updated 12/11/2017 4:15 p.m. PST] 

Fire officials said they are making steady progress on the fire with the aid of favorable weather conditions. The fire has held at 230,500 acres. 6,400 firefighters are assigned. 

The fire appears to be "winding down" on the Ventura side. Firefighters are continuing to work to increase containment.

18,000 structures are threatened, 794 structures have been destroyed, 187 structures are damaged. 6,397 fire personnel are assigned to the Thomas Fire.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is reminding residents to be diligent in regards to possible scams trying to take advantage of the Thomas Fire. More information about scams can be found here

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[Updated 12/11/2017 2:15 p.m. PST] 

A community meeting regarding the Thomas Fire will be held at 4 p.m. at San Marcos High School. KEYT will broadcast the meeting in its entirety on NewsChannel 3 and online.

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[Updated 12/11/2017 12:00 p.m. PST]

Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Dave Zaniboni said fire conditions were favorable overnight. Zaniboni said the goal for Monday is to continue to set up a perimeter on the fire. Air support will continue to do aerial drops as wind stays low. 

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[Updated 12/11/17 9:30 a.m. PST] 

A firefighter from the Redding Fire Department suffered a broken leg while battling the Thomas Fire. He is in "good spirits and is returning home."

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[Updated 12/11/17 6:45 a.m. PST] - NewsChannel 3 Live Broadcast. Click Here and sign up for county emergency alerts at http://awareandprepare.org

The Thomas Fire is now 230,500 acres and is 15% contained. 6,397 personnel are currently fighting this fire. 18,000 structures remain threatened. 798 structures have been destroyed. 94,607 residents have been evacuated.

Here are resources to check the current air quality in your area:

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[Updated 12/10/17 6:00 p.m. PST]

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 790 structures have been destroyed so far with 191 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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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%.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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.

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[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. 

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[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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