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Thomas Fire grows to 132,000 acres - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Thomas Fire grows to 132,000 acres

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UPDATE (9:35 A.M.) 

The Ventura County Fire Department announced Friday morning just over 400 structures have been destroyed in the Thomas Fire. 

Thursday night, officials say 439 structures were lost. Officials have not yet clarified the discrepancy between the two counts. 

Some 15,000 structures are still in danger and have prompted evacuations into Santa Barbara County. 

Over 1,000 more firefighters have been assigned to the Thomas Fire as of Friday. 

Currently, there are more than 3,500 firefighters on scene, according to VCFD. 

Fire officials say the cause of the Thomas Fire is under investigation and cannot say when it will be fully contained. 


UPDATE (6:30 A.M.) -- The Thomas Fire has grown to 132,000 acres and has reached 10 percent containment. Check this link for more updates


UPDATE (9:45 P.M.) - The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office has issued mandatory and voluntary evacuations orders for parts of Carpinteria, Summerland, and unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County, effective as of 8:30 p.m. Thursday. 

The mandatory evacuation areas include: 

  • The area of Highway 192 on the south, Highway 150 on the east (county line), Casitas Pass Road to the west and extending north to East Camino Cielo.
  • Eastside 150 from Rincon Hill Road to Highway 101
  • Bates Road
  • Camino Carreta
  • Rincon Pt Road
  • Rincon Pt. Lane
  • Buena Fortuna

Voluntary evacuation areas: 

  • The area bounded by Highway 101 on the south, Highway 150 on the east (county line), Toro Canyon Road on the west and extending north to East Camino Cielo.
  • 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.
  • All addresses along the east side of Bailard Avenue from Highway 101.
  • All areas south of Highway 101 to the coast and east of Dump Road to include all of the Bates Road and Rincon areas.

http://www.ksby.com/story/37013593/thomas-fire-continues-to-grow-voluntary-evacuations-in-carpinteria


UPDATE (6:05 p.m.) - Fire officials say the Thomas Fire has grown to 115,000 acres as of Thursday evening. Containment remains at 5 percent.

While crews are still assessing the damage, fire officials say 439 structures have been destroyed by the fire so far, mostly in the City of Ventura.

At a Thursday evening press briefing, incident commanders said it was a very active day on the fire lines and they expect another challenging day on Friday; however, they did expect the strong and gusty Santa Ana winds to die down.

Fire officials said good progress has been made on the southern edge of the fire and in the Ventura area. There was active fire behavior Thursday on the west side of the fire where multiple flare-ups occurred along Highway 101. In the northwest, the fire was moving closer to the Santa Barbara County line but fire officials said suppression efforts had been successful so far.

Still, additional evacuation orders were ordered in the Carpinteria area, and Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown urged people to be prepared to leave their homes if necessary.

In the northeast area of the fire, flames had burned into the Los Padres National Forest. Fire officials said they were finally able to use fixed-wing aircraft to make retardant drops in an effort to create a line around the fire in that area.


UPDATE (5:15 p.m.) - New evacuation orders have been issued in Santa Barbara County for the following areas:

  • Highway 192 on the south
  • Highway 150 on the east
  • Casitas Pass Road to East Camino Cielo

Evacuation orders remain in effect for the following areas:

  • Eastside Highway 150 from Rincon Hill Road to Highway 101
  • Bates Road
  • Camino Carreta
  • Rincon Point Road
  • Rincon Point Lane
  • Buena Fortuna

A town hall meeting on the Thomas Fire will be held at Carpinteria High School, located at 4810 Foothill Road in Carpinteria, at 8 p.m. Thursday. 


UPDATE (4:10 p.m.) - The Faria Ranch palm tree farm near Faria Beach was destroyed in the Thomas Fire on Thursday.


UPDATE (2:40 p.m.) - Firefighters say strong winds are a concern again Thursday afternoon and that the Thomas Fire is headed into Santa Barbara County if it's not already there.

Fire flared up again along the northbound lanes of Highway 101 south of Carpinteria around 2:30 p.m.


UPDATE (11:55 a.m.) - Heavy smoke was impacting Highway 101 through the Faria Beach area just before noon on Thursday as flames burned next to the highway.

Two southbound lanes of the 101 were closed at Padre Juan Canyon Road but all northbound traffic was open. Highway 1 at Faria Beach was closed to traffic.

The train tracks from Carpenteria to Faria Beach are also closed and there is currently no Amtrak service in Ventura County.

More than 2,500 fire personnel are currently assigned to the Thomas Fire and more resources have been requested.

Fire officials say significant fire growth was seen last night just north of Ojai. 


Firefighters from the Santa Maria Fire Department work to extinguish flames at the Thomas Fire near Ojai. (Photo courtesy Santa Maria Firefighters)


UPDATE (9:15 a.m.) - The Ventura County Fire Department public information officer has released a new map of the Thomas Fire. 

Numerous roads are closed because of the Thomas Fire. 

Highway 101 did reopen Thursday morning but several other roadways are under partial or full closures. 


The Thomas Fire has started to creep in Santa Barbara County, causing officials to upgrade evacuations in Carpinteria to mandatory evacuations Thursday morning.

As of Thursday morning, fire officials say the Thomas Fire has burned about 96,000 acres. It is five percent contained. 

More than 2,500 firefighters are assigned to the fire. 

The Goleta Union School District and the Santa Barbara Unified School District have canceled classes for Dec. 7. 

Santa Barbara City College closed Tuesday but held classes again Wednesday. 

As of Thursday, the community college has decided to cancel classes Thursday through Saturday at all of its campuses. 

CAL FIRE says strong winds are pushing the fire to move west, toward Carpinteria. 

Highway 101 was closed in Ventura County and Carpinteria overnight, but reopened Thursday morning in both directions. However, officials ask drivers to avoid Highway 101 if possible. 

The evacuations included the area E. of Highway 150 from Rincon Hill Road South to the 101 and included Bates Road and the area known as Rincon Point at the south end of Bates Road. 

  • Eastside 150 from Rincon Hill Rd to Hwy 101 
  • Bates Rd 
  • Camino Carreta 
  • Rincon Pt Rd 
  • Rincon Pt. Lane 
  • Buena Fortuna 

Voluntary evacuations are in place for the City of Carpinteria east of Bailard Avenue. 

"Right now, it's a lot of triage and determining what's at risk and deploying these firefighters out of the fire," said Matt Chambers, Thomas Fire public information officer. 

Traffic on Highway 101 was stop and go near the fire; many drivers tried to catch glimpses of the fire. Some residents pulled over to get a better look. 

"It's big, it's powerful, it's something you don't want to mess around with," said Jordan Harp, a Santa Barbara resident. "You feel really small on earth when you look at something like this."

Residents like Harp have been traveling toward the fire to help evacuees get out. 

"People are losing their houses and everything that they've put their hearts into," said John Huttenberger, Ventura County resident."It's sad to see that someone has put so much time and love into something to have it ripped away like that. I just want to help preserve that."

However, residents are urged to avoid the area at all costs as it remains unpredictable. 

Fire crews tell KSBY a lot of evacuees are suffering from sore eyes caused by the embers and the ash that has blanketed the area. 

Fire managers added that residents are complying with evacuation orders very smoothly. They recommend anyone who is near the area, who isn't under an evacuation order, to be prepared to leave at a moment's notice.  

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