Quantcast

Hundreds of fire crews, evacuees to be sent home for the holiday - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Hundreds of fire crews, evacuees to be sent home for the holidays

Posted: Updated:

More evacuees are expected to return home Tuesday while hundreds of fire crews will be released from the Thomas Fire, both in time for the holidays, according to CAL FIRE officials. 

Amber Anderson, public information officer at the Thomas Fire, says there are two reasons why some fire crews are lucky enough to be heading home: agency contracts and the fire's current condition. 

First, firefighters, by contract, can only work a certain amount of days before they're required to take a mandatory day off. That mandatory off-time usually happens at about 14 to 21 days, depending on the agencies. 

Tuesday is day 16 of the Thomas Fire, so many of the firefighters who have been working since it began are headed home, and a new flock of firefighters who haven't worked on this fire are reporting for duty. 

Firefighters who are staying through the holidays say they will celebrate Christmas on another day. 

"It's too bad that it's going on during the holidays season but we all love our jobs and we are willing to do it at any time, we are going to celebrate, it'll just be either a little early or a little late," said Rich Macklin, a Ventura County fire engineer. 

Fire officials hope to release even more fire crews by the weekend. 

"My family, my kids are very excited," Macklin said. "They want me home today if they could have it but we know that that's not a possibility, but knowing that I'll be able to return home by the end of the week -- they are very excited and I can't wait to see them."

The second reason is that the fire has been looking exceptionally better than previous days, so fire officials are sending home unused resources that were called in ahead of this week's and last weekend's weather events. 

The Thomas Fire is 271,750 acres and is 50 percent contained.  

Although fire officials are happy to send crew members home to their families, Anderson says the most important thing is the public's safety and well-being.

"From our side, we're used to being gone," Anderson said. "This is our job, this is what we do, this is what we signed up for." 

The biggest concern for fire crews right now is structure defense and structure preparation ahead of the weather changes coming Wednesday night, in order to let evacuees return home as soon as possible. 

"We're used to being away and it's almost expected; what's not expected is homeowners, residents, citizens being displaced from their homes during the holidays and that's what's important (lifting evacuations), that's what we're focusing on," Anderson told KSBY. 

The Thomas Fire status is in the air, and can change unexpectedly, however, incident command is fairly confident they will be able to reduce a lot of the evacuation orders to warnings in order to get people home in time for the holidays.  

Watch the full interview talking about the release with KSBY reporter Fabiola Ramirez, plus an explanation of the fire strategies underway, here

Top Trending Videos

WEATHER
Doppler Radar
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Brynn Frace passes away two days after crash that took sister's life

    Brynn Frace passes away two days after crash that took sister's life

    Thursday, January 18 2018 10:23 PM EST2018-01-19 03:23:54 GMT
    Photo from Highlands Church FacebookPhoto from Highlands Church Facebook

    Northern San Luis Obispo County is mourning the loss of two of its own. Sisters Brittni and Brynn Frace died this week as a result of a car accident on Tuesday.

    Northern San Luis Obispo County is mourning the loss of two of its own. Sisters Brittni and Brynn Frace died this week as a result of a car accident on Tuesday.

  • Toddler rescued from Montecito mudslide recovering

    Toddler rescued from Montecito mudslide recovering

    Friday, January 19 2018 4:05 AM EST2018-01-19 09:05:32 GMT

    Acts of kindness and generosity continue despite the destruction in Montecito. The McManigal family is giving $100,000 in donations to the Benitez family. Two-year-old Ian Benitez is healing but won't be back on his feet for a while.

    Acts of kindness and generosity continue despite the destruction in Montecito. The McManigal family is giving $100,000 in donations to the Benitez family. Two-year-old Ian Benitez is healing but won't be back on his feet for a while.

  • Caltrans: Nearly all mud cleared off of Highway 101

    Caltrans: Nearly all mud cleared off of Highway 101

    Friday, January 19 2018 3:22 AM EST2018-01-19 08:22:44 GMT

    Santa Barbara County released a number of mudslide recovery updates Thursday from government agencies and utilities, including some estimated service restoration dates.

    Santa Barbara County released a number of mudslide recovery updates Thursday from government agencies and utilities, including some estimated service restoration dates.

Powered by Frankly

© KSBY.com 2018, KSBY.com
A CORDILLERA COMMUNICATIONS Station
All rights reserved
Privacy Policy, | Terms of Service, and Ad Choices

Can't find something?