UPDATE: Thomas Fire 50% contained at 271,000 acres - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

UPDATE: Thomas Fire 50% contained at 271,000 acres

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(Credit: Los Padres National Forest) (Credit: Los Padres National Forest)

This story has been updated. For information from Tuesday, click here

Update (4:15 a.m.) - The latest Thomas Fire acreage and containment numbers are expected to be released by fire officials after 6:00 a.m. Tuesday. 

Calmer weather conditions allowed crews to make considerable progress Monday. 

After successful firing operations yesterday, more controlled burns are planned Tuesday. 

Watch KSBY Daybreak 5:00-7:00 a.m. for the latest on the Thomas Fire.

Update (6:10 p.m.) - The Thomas Fire is now 50-percent contained. A total of 271,000 acres have burned so far. Firing operations set to be conducted in the coming days would increase the size of the fire and make it the largest wildfire in California history.

Update (3:40 p.m.) - Firing operations for the Thomas Fire are underway off Highway 33. A large plume of smoke can be seen in the area. Officials say they are using the next two days to try to burn 20,000 acres before winds are expected to kick up again on Wednesday.

Update (3:30 p.m.) -Santa Barbara police say the city's 911 system has been over-burdened with people making non-emergency calls. Police ask people to only call 911 for emergency and to call (805) 681-5542 for any Thomas Fire-related questions. 

Update (1:45 p.m.) - Firefighters say crews continue working on hotspots behind homes in the Montecito area and into the Camino Cielo ridge. 

Update: (12:35 p.m.) - A voluntary evacuation warning has been lifted for the area from Constance/Alameda Padre Serra/South Salinas on the north and east, Highway 101 on the south, and W. Mission Street to State Street on the west.

They are zones STB 2,5,6,9,10,11 and 20 as shown on the county's interactive map for the areas under evacuation. 

An evacuation order in all areas from Toro Canyon west to Olive Mill/Hot Springs Road and northbound Highway 101 to Highway 192 has been downgraded to an evacuation warning, according to the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management.  

Update (12:00 p.m.) - The Ventura County Fire Department reports the two major drainages above Fillmore are expected to see "battling" winds Monday afternoon and evening. 

Update (11:15 a.m.) - Mask distributions will take place again this week in parts of Santa Barbara County. For a full list, click here

Update (9:40 a.m.) - Fire officials say people can expect to see a large head of white smoke Monday in the northern portion of the Sespe wilderness where a burn operation will be taking place. 

For a list of road and off-ramp closures still in place Monday, click here

Update (8:45 a.m) - A community meeting will take place again Monday at San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara to provide the latest updates to the community on the Thomas Fire. 

Update (8:00 a.m.) - Air operations will resume Monday to assist crews on the ground at the Thomas Fire. 

The Ventura County Fire public information officer says three night-flying helicopters were not needed overnight but will be available Monday night. 

A total of 35 helicopters will fly the fire along with two very large air tankers (VLATS), six air tankers and two super scoopers. 

Fire officials anticipate changes to evacuation orders early this week as firefighters gain more control. 

Update (7:30 a.m.) - Fire officials are beginning to release some crews from the Thomas Fire to go home and get some rest. 

The demobilizing process is underway Monday morning, switching out crews that have been on the line for a few weeks now for new crews. 

There are more than 8,400 personnel still assigned to the Thomas Fire. 

The latest map of fire on Day 15 shows the fire's edge has now merged with the Tea Fire, Jesusita Fire and Zaca Fire burn scars. 

If weather conditions are favorable, hand crews will do a firing operation along Highway 33 to tie in more with the Zaca Fire burn area.

The incident commander says the Santa Barbara front country remains the primary area of concern. 

As of Monday morning, the Thomas Fire grew by just 500 acres, now totaling 270,500 acres burned. 

Containment remains at 45 percent, according to fire officials.

Calmer winds have allowed firefighters to take a more offensive approach and begin to rebuild contingency and containment lines. 

Incident meteorologist Rich Thompson forecasts winds will be favorable for crews Monday.

Thomas Fire Public Information Officer Amber Anderson says there are plans to conduct a firing operation along Highway 33 Monday. Residents should expect to see more smoke in the area.

Watch KSBY Daybreak 5-7 a.m. for live updates from the Thomas Fire. 

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