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Thomas Fire becomes the 2nd largest wildfire in California histo - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Thomas Fire becomes the 2nd largest wildfire in California history

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UPDATE (3:45 a.m.) - Crews are preparing for a potentially dangerous wind event Wednesday afternoon. 

The Thomas Fire has grown minimally the last few days. New acreage is largely attributed to firing operations done purposely by firefighters. 

Fire officials say they are getting the upper hand on this firefight, now into its third week. 

(Photo of a burning operation at the Thomas Fire courtesy of the Los Padres National Forest.)

The latest MODIS heat map of the fire detects one hot spot northwest of Ojai. 

Some crews have been allowed to head home. Still, more than 6,800 firefighters are working to contain the fire during the holiday season. 

The KSBY Daybreak team will speak with a public information officer for the Thomas Fire live for the very latest during the show from 5-7 a.m. 

New acreage and containment numbers are expected to be released shortly after 6 a.m.


UPDATE (10:50 p.m.) - Firefighters working tirelessly on the front lines of the Thomas Fire deserve a good rest, no matter where they are.  The mother of Kern County firefighter, Dylan Newell, posted the photo below of a fire crew near Westmont College catching up on some much needed sleep after a long shift fighting the Thomas Fire.


UPDATE (6 p.m.) - The Thomas Fire has grown to 272,000 acres as of Tuesday evening, making it the second largest wildfire in recorded California history. It is 55 percent contained.

At a Tuesday evening press conference, fire officials said Tuesday was a good day but they are not dropping their vigilance because of more windy weather expected in the next couple of days. They said less active fire is expected on Wednesday, and because of mop-up efforts and work on containment lines, they are anticipating the fire activity will be significantly different than it was on Saturday during the last wind event. Still, they said, there is a risk the fire could spread again.

Approximately 2,000 evacuees in Santa Barbara County were able to return home on Tuesday, but about 16,000 people remain under evacuation orders.


UPDATE (4:30 p.m.) - Watch the Thomas Fire community meeting held in Santa Barbara on Tuesday afternoon below:


UPDATE (11:20 a.m.) - The evacuation order for all areas north of Highway 192 to East Camino Cielo between Ladera Lane and Cravens Lane, including Toro Canyon Road, will be lifted at noon.

Additionally, the evacuation order for the area north of Highway 192 between Highway 154 and North Ontare Road will be reduced to an evacuation warning.

Evacuation orders and warning areas are shown in the interactive map below:


UPDATE (8 a.m.) - Fire officials have released an updated map of the Thomas Fire. 


UPDATE (7 a.m.) - An evacuation order for Coast Village Road, which includes Coast Village Circle, between Olive Mill Road and Hot Springs Road has been lifted. Coast Village Road has also reopened. More than 1,000 structures have been destroyed by the fire. 


The Thomas Fire grew minimally again overnight, now totaling 271,750 acres burned. 

The fire grew just 750 acres from Monday night to Tuesday morning. 

Containment of the fire still stands at 50 percent.

Fire managers plan to burn 15,000 to 20,000 acres in firing operations in the coming days, weather permitting. 

Once the controlled burns are finished, the Thomas Fire will likely become the largest wildfire in recorded California state history. 

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