Thomas Fire grows to 270,000 acres, 45 percent containment Sunda - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Thomas Fire grows to 270,000 acres, 45 percent containment Sunday night

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This story has been updated, for updates on Monday's firefight, click here

Update (4:15 a.m.) - As fire crews prepare to head into the third week of fighting the Thomas Fire, weather conditions continue to be more favorable.

Incident Meteorologist Rich Thompson says crews will have a window of opportunity for the first part of this week to establish more containment line. 

Wednesday's wind event is anticipated to produce north-northeast winds 20-30 mph with gusts 40-55 mph and isolated gusts to 60 mph.

Fire officials say crews will continue constructing direct hand line where possible while air support will assist with water and retardant drops. 

The latest heat mapping shows minimal growth overnight Sunday. 

The most active heat is in the back country northeast of Ojai.

Local law enforcement continue to provide mutual aid to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office with evacuations. 

There have been no changes to evacuation orders as of Monday morning. 

Update (6 p.m.) - The Thomas Fire has grown to 270,000 acres and is 45 percent contained, fire officials announced Sunday night. 

The Thomas Fire is still the third-largest wildfire. The second largest is the Rush Fire in Lassen County in 2012, at 271,911 acres. The largest one in California's history was the Cedar Fire in San Diego County in October 2003.

The estimated cost has increased to just under $124 million.

There are 8,526 fire personnel are working on the fire. 

About 104,000 people have been evacuated. 

Update (2:00 p.m.) -The evacuation order for areas near Carpinteria north of Highway 192 to the National Forest boundary between Cravens Lane and Casitas Pass Road have been lifted.  

Update (1:00 p.m.) - Officials now say that 1,018 structures have been destroyed and 239 structured have been damaged by the Thomas Fire.  Of those structures destroyed, 14 are homes located in unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara.

As of 11:45 a.m. Sunday, 4,492,212 gallons of water and 1,890,259 gallons of retardant have been dropped by aircraft.

Update (10:30 a.m.) - Fire officials say the western and southern edge of the Thomas Fire near Montecito continues to be the number one focus for crews. 

Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Eric Petersen told KSBY Sunday morning the fire was spotting near Gibraltar Road. 

Hand crews may resume with firing operations in areas where winds remain calm and conditions are safe to do so. 

The fire is now burning into the Tea Fire burn scar from 2008 and slowing down in younger fuel beds, according to Chief Petersen. 

Petersen calls terrain in the Santa Barbara front and back country "unforgiving," making it difficult or even impossible for hand crews to access. 

More air support will assist ground crews today with water and retardant drops as long as weather conditions allow aircraft to fly safely. 

Airplanes that scoop water into tanks on the belly of the aircraft, called "Superscoopers," will be dropping water on the fire throughout the day. 

The Superscoopers are getting water from Lake Cachuma, where a base camp is set up for firefighters. 

Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft have been targeting their drops on the Gilbratar Road area. 

While the weather is proving to be much more favorable at this time, Chief Petersen is reminding everyone not to become complacent. 

"I told all my crews don't let your guard down just because the weather is better." Petersen said. "And I say the same to residents, this is not the time to go back into your homes." 

Fire officials say crews will be working to re-establish contingency and containment lines in the Camino Cielo area after strong winds caused the fire to burn through those barriers. 

Watch KSBY News for live updates on the Thomas Fire throughout the day. 

Update (9:00 a.m.) - An evacuation order for Highway 150 between Santa Ana and Highway 192 in Ventura County has been lifted.

Update (8:30 a.m.) - A community meeting is scheduled again for 4:00 p.m. Sunday at San Marcos High School, 4750 Hollister Ave., in Santa Barbara. A County spokesperson says people are being encouraged to attend in person now that traffic is back to normal. The meeting will also be shown live on KSBY and KSBY.com. 

Acreage increased about 1,500 acres overnight on the Thomas Fire as the firefight moves into the fourteenth day.

Fire officials announced Sunday morning the blaze had grown to 269,000 acres and remained 40 percent contained. 

A red flag warning and wind advisories that fueled the fire Saturday when it grew by more than 8,000 acres have now been canceled.

The fire has grown to 418 square miles and is now the third largest in California state recorded history and the seventh most destructive. 

Evacuations for many parts of Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria remain in effect.

Highway 154 is closed until further notice from Cathedral Oaks to Highway 246. While Highway 101 is open, highway off-ramps in the fire area remain closed. For more information on road closures due to the Thomas Fire, click here

Road closures due to Thomas Fire

By late Saturday morning, SoCal Edison reported more than 1,200 customers were without power in the Montecito area. Of the 768 power poles damaged, crews reported all but about 200 had been replaced.

N95 mask distribution locations for Sunday 

The fire started the evening of December 4 near Thomas Aquinas College in Ojai. It grew quickly as it spread into Ventura, destroying more than 500 structures in the first few days.

A map showing the progression of the Thomas Fire as of Sunday morning. 

To date, more than 1,000 structures have been destroyed, many of them being homes. Another 18,000 structures remain threatened. 

With more than 8,500 personnel now assigned to the Thomas Fire, it makes it the largest response to a fire in California history. 

One firefighter has died while battling the flames and a 70-year-old woman was reportedly killed when fleeing the flames shortly after the fire broke out. 

Body of firefighter killed in Thomas Fire to be escorted to San Diego County

The cause remains under investigation. 

Full containment is not expected before January 7. 

Tune into KSBY for live coverage on the fire throughout the day. 

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