Some communities repopulate as Thomas Fire evacuation orders are - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Some communities repopulate as Thomas Fire evacuation orders are downgraded

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Over the last two weeks, thousands of residents had been told to pack up and leave their home, not knowing when they'd come back or what they'd come back to.

Saturday's fire conditions pushed many who weren't under evacuation orders out of the area.

"On Saturday, there was incredible amounts of smoke. We evacuated to the valley near Los Olivos to get some fresh air," said Conor Tosh, who is back in his Santa Barbara home.

Some communities in Santa Barbara are now repopulating as evacuation orders and warnings are being downgraded. It's a sigh of relief for many.

"I was able to move back home today and I was greeted with quite a bit of dust and ash but I was very happy to get back to my home," said Sarah Ettman, who lives in what is now a voluntary evacuation zone.

The Thomas Fire has uprooted communities and destroyed others, but residents are working to find some sort of normalcy around the holidays.

"It's been a really trying time and it's been really sad. I'm sure people will be happy to get home for the holidays and enjoy some family time inside," said Tosh.

Community members are thanking firefighters for the homes and lives that have been saved.

"I'm amazed by their professionalism, their bravery, and the technology. They've done a fantastic job," said Ettman.

For an up to date evacuation map, click here.

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