The December 4, 2017 Thomas Fire that burned over 281,893 acres remains 92 percent contained as of Wednesday. The fire destroyed 1,063 structures and damaged 280 others.
As of Tuesday, helicopters have been making water drops on Hartman Ranch and Rose Valley areas. Weather permitting, helicopters will be used in the Bear Heaven area where steep and rocky terrain makes it dangerous for firefighters to attack directly.
Crews are repairing landscape that was damaged by the construction of wildfire containment lines and other fire suppression methods. Over 157 miles of suppression repair has been completed out of about 259 miles of containment line damage.
Motorists and visitors in the area should use caution, as crews and heavy equipment remain active. Crews are particularly active along East Camino Cielo between Highway 154 and Painted Cave Road. Crews are also working around the Rose Valley area, progressing toward Pine Mountain.
Los Padres National Forest is closed to the public within the Thomas Fire perimeter on the Santa Barbara and Ojai Ranger Districts. Sage Hill Group Campground is temporarily closed while fire crews use the area as a base camp. Level 3 fire restrictions are in effect for the Los Padres National Forest. Campfires are allowed only in designated-use sites, and no fires are allowed in the backcountry; portable stoves and lanterns (with an on-off switch) are only permitted with a valid California Campfire Permit.
The Federal Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) team and California Watershed Emergency Response Team (WERT) are assessing areas within the Thomas Fire for burn severity and identifying locations at risk for flooding, debris flows and other post-fire hazards. The teams will turn over their data to Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services, who will develop emergency preparedness and response plans for their respective communities.
County-based emergency service agencies are reviewing assessment reports from the BAER and WERT teams and working on emergency preparation plans for affected communities. After a wildfire, flood risk is usually highest until vegetation returns, which can take up to five years. Flood preparation information is available at www.countyofsb.org/pwd/floodprep.sbc for Santa Barbara County and www.venturacountyrecovers.org for Ventura County.
Flood Preparation: Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties are posting flood preparation and recovery information on the following websites:
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.
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.
Santa Barbara County released a number of mudslide recovery updates Thursday from government agencies and utilities, including some estimated service restoration dates.
Two drivers are recovering after a major crash on Madonna Road in San Luis Obispo on Friday morning. According to San Luis Obispo Police, two cars crashed into each other around 4:31 a.m. Friday on the Madonna Road overpass above Highway 101. One driver suffered significant injuries, while the other had minor chest pains. Both were taken to the hospital for treatment. Major crash on the Madonna overpass above Highway 101 @ksby @meganrabundis pic.twitter.com/u6ZcwhhUP6 — Char...