The Thomas Fire became California's largest officially recorded fire on Dec. 22, 2017, when surpassed the 273,000-plus acre Cedar Fire. Wochit
The Thomas Fire burned through Ventura neighborhoods.(Photo: JUAN CARLO/THE STAR)
Acres: 281,893 • Containment: 92 percent • Buildings destroyed: 1,063
Here are the latest updates:
Tuesday noon Very little has changed in the Thomas Fire. Fire crews took advantage of the cooler weather and increased humidity Monday to seek out and extinguish areas of heat within the fire’s perimeter.
The trouble spots remain near Bear Heaven and Cherry Creek, in steep and rocky terrain of Los Padres National Forest. Firefighters continue to keep close watch on the slow burning and smoldering areas of fire there but they cannot safely access it.
Monday 10 a.m. Just under 500 firefighters and support personnel continued working the Thomas Fire Sunday into Monday, with much of the work focused on restoring and repairing suppression lines, said Kerry Greene, a spokesperson with the U.S. Forest Fire.
As of Sunday afternoon, crews had repaired about 112 miles of 279 miles of fire containment lines.
Fire activity is minimal, and limited to the area of Los Padres National Forest around Rose Valley Falls and Bear Heaven. Cooler temperatures and higher humidity are helping things, Greene said.
Some of those working the fire rang in 2018 with a “Happy New Year” and small cheer. It was a couple of hours before midnight, because crews typically finish their day earlier than that to get ready for the next day’s work, Greene said.
Saturday 9 a.m. Highway 33 north of Ojai was reopened Friday evening after what had been a lengthy closure at Fairview Road. Some National Forest land in the burn area remains closed to the public.
Three areas where the active fire is still lingering in rugged terrain along the blaze's northern front are being monitored by U.S. Forest Service officials, according to an online morning briefing. Authorities expect containment lines to hold but are prepared to catch any significant flareups with aircraft.
In Santa Barbara County, suppression repair work is going well, they said. With a chance of rain in the forecast raising erosion concerns, it will be important to get that work done.
A fire that started off Gibraltar Road Friday morning that put off a cloud of smoke visible from downtown Santa Barbara is still being investigated, said officials, who added they are not sure if it is related to the Thomas Fire. It was kept to about a quarter acre.
Saturday's update will be the last daily briefing on the fire unless something significant takes place, officials said.
Friday 6:30 p.m. Tribune Content Agency reported that this morning, a smoldering area of the fire came back to life when light winds ignited a patch of unburned vegetation, sending plumes of smoke into the air over Santa Barbara, according to U.S. Forest Service public information officer Jim Mackensen.
Initial reports indicated the fire was started by a burning log that had rolled down into brush, but officials said Friday afternoon that that appeared not to be the case.
The flames spread near Gibraltar Road, a windy mountain pass loaded with million-dollar homes surrounded by grass, bushes and trees. No homes were immediately in danger but crews weren’t taking any chances, Mackensen said.
Two firefighter hand crews, one engine and two helicopters worked to put out the flames before they posed a significant threat, he said.
“Probably the biggest takeaway from this is it’s indicative of the very dry conditions,” Mackensen said. “It’s not out till it’s out.”
The progress of the fire — estimated to be between a tenth- and a quarter-acre — was stopped by 1 p.m., Mackensen said.
Friday1 p.m. An Air Quality Watch issued for Santa Barbara County during the Thomas Fire was lifted Friday. The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District canceled the watch after air quality in the county has been good-to-moderate in recent days, and the fire in nears 100 percent containment.
The control district did warn residents about the presence of ash and its potential for harm. Officials with the district advised residents not to use leaf blowers. If the ash is stirred up in the air, people are advised to take precautions to reduce exposure to the air pollution. A broom may be used to gently sweep up ash. Anyone with hear or lung problems should avoid ash cleanup, control district officials said.
Friday noon Los Padres National Forest officials announced revised closures Friday, allowing access to the Mt. Pinos Ranger District.
Only areas within the Thomas Fire perimeter remained off-limits as crews were still performing suppression repair.
Friday 10:45 a.m. As the Thomas Fire nears full containment, command of the incident will be transferred Saturday evening from the Incident Command Team to the Los Padres National Forest.
Incident officials said around half of the 620 personnel still assigned to the fire were expected to be released in the coming days.
Friday 7:45 a.m. California Highway Patrol officials said that Highway 33, north of Fairview Road, was expected to be fully open by 6 p.m. Friday.
Thursday 8:30 p.m. Crews continue to finish off the Thomas Fire, raising containment of the 281,893-acre blaze to 92 percent. There are 620 personnel working the fire, a number that's down several thousand from the height of the blaze. Venture County Fire Department crews in Upper Ojai spent a second day trying to extinguish natural oil seepage spots that were still smoldering from the fire.
Thursday 8 a.m. The Thomas Fire stayed right where it had been last night — at 281,620 acres and 91 percent containment. No forward progress is expected, according to the U.S. Forest Service, which is overseeing the remainder of the fire.
The day’s plan involved “patrol, mop up, and hold what we’ve got,” said Operations Section Chief Alex McBath.
The fire has little active heat, and the identified heat sources have been well inside of the fire perimeter, the forest service said.
The morning report also says:
West of Cherry Creek Road still contains large areas of unburned fuels, and active fire is expected when weather conditions that support fire return. In the coming days, people may see smoke, firefighters, and helicopters in this area, but there is no expectation that the fire will make any movement outside established containment lines.
Hotspots also remain in the Bear Heaven area. Air support is implementing water drops in that area due to steep, rugged terrain with limited access. Additional aircraft remain available in the event there are flare-ups or new fire starts in the area.
Wednesday 6 p.m. In an evening tweet, Los Padres National Forest officials updated the Thomas Fire's size to 281,893 acres -- or more than 440 square miles -- and boosted containment figures to 91 percent.
Some 655 personnel are still on hand to contain the blaze, Los Padres forest officials said.
U.S. Forest Service officials now command the incident since it remains active mostly on national forest land.
Wednesday 10:30 a.m.: Thomas Fire officials said the blaze failed to grow for a second straight day, maintaining its size of 281,620 acres.
Authorities said there were still two areas with active fire though they posed minimal threat to established containment lines.
Ventura County fire crews were also working on oil seepage fires in the Upper Ojai area.
Tuesday 7:45 p.m. The American Red Cross opened two client service centers this week for victims of the Thomas Fire. The centers will operate from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at Ventura County Credit Union, 6026 Telephone Road in Ventura, and at the Palazzio Event Center, 814 E Main St. in Santa Paula. They will also be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on New Year's Eve.
The Ventura County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday to set rules for removing debris left by the Thomas Fire, waive fees for temporary dwellings on properties while homes are rebuilt, and move ahead with the second phase of cleanup from the fire.
Tuesday 9 a.m. Fire crews are slowly but surely finishing off the Thomas Fire. It has very little activity as of Tuesday morning and no forward progress is expected, fire officials said in their morning report. The fire is at 88 percent containment
Some sections of Los Padres National Forest are closed for public safety. Hotspots remain in the forest’s Bear Heaven area, near Tar Creek.
“Firefighters are building upon previous gains by strengthening established containment lines adjacent to communities and other infrastructure,” the report says.
Aircraft are available for any flare-ups or new starts.
Sunday 9 p.m. An evening update from Cal Fire boosted total acreage burned to 281,620, an increase of some 8,220 acres since Saturday's estimate. Containment had reached 86 percent. That upward bump followed a downgrade announced Sunday morning, when fire officials rolled back containment to 70 percent, saying a higher number provided Saturday -- 78 percent -- had been a typo.
Total counts for structures destroyed remained unchanged at 1,063, with another 280 damaged.
More than 1,500 personnel remained assigned as mop up and patrol efforts continue on some fronts while other crews work to strengthen containment lines and tamp down flare ups and new fire starts.
Sunday 12:45 a.m. Crews on Saturday night gained 70 percent containment of the Thomas fire, an increase from 65 percent 24 hours earlier.
As of Saturday night, the fire covered 273,400 acres. Officials said 1,573 personnel were assigned to the wildfire, down from well over 4,000 at the peak of the fire, which has destroyed 1,063 structures and damaged 280, according to authorities.
In a Saturday night update, officials said the front-country fire perimeter is secure and that crews were building upon previous gains by securing established containment lines adjacent to communities and other infrastructure. Mop-up operations along the fire perimeter are ongoing and repair work is underway to mitigate impacts from fire-suppression activity.
As long as there was no significant wind, no major flare-ups were expected Saturday night, and an expected increase in relative humidity was expected to lead to diminished fire activity.
Saturday 9:50 p.m. The Thomas Fire is now 78 percent contained, according to the United States Forest Service. The size of the fire remained at 273,400 acres.
Saturday 5:55 p.m. The U.S. Forest Service said firefighters working the Thomas Fire during the holidays are appreciative of all the local community support they are receiving, but that they are "well-cared-for" and not in need of donations.
"The best gift you can give us is to give to those in need this holiday season, especially those folks who have been impacted by the Thomas Fire," the agency said in a statement. "Give us a warm smile, a wave, a cute poster by the roadway, but please give your financial support and donated supplies to local assistance organizations.
"While we appreciate the public’s volunteer spirit and desire to donate, we simply don’t have the infrastructure to accept donations, especially food, which is carefully regulated in fire camp by health and safety ordinances."
The agency suggested a few organizations that could use your help, but added, "there are also many others nearby who can really use your help. It’s always a good idea to call first to confirm specific needs."
The suggested organizations:
- Holiday food drive, Ventura Unified School District, 3777 Dean Drive, Ventura, 805-289-7961, ext. 2306
- FOOD Share, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, 4156 Southbank Road, Oxnard, 805-983-7100
- Salvation Army, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, 3451 Foothill Road, Ventura, 800-725-9005
- Arc Thrift Store, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, 265 E. Main St., Ventura, 805-653-1756
- Help of Ojai, noon to 7 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends, 111 W. Santa Ana St., Ojai, 805-646-5122
- Rescue Mission Alliance, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, 315 North A St., Oxnard, 805-487-1234
Saturday 8 a.m. The memorial service for Cal Fire Engineer Cory Iverson will take place at 10 a.m. in San Diego. The event will be live-streamed at www.sdrock.com/iverson. Iverson, 32, died Dec. 14 while fighting the Thomas Fire in rough terrain outside Fillmore.
All mandatory evacuations have now been lifted and the fire's active presence has diminished in cities it once threatened from Fillmore to Santa Barbara. Still, more than 2,500 personnel remain to fight the blaze as it continues to burn in mostly National Forest lands. Mop-up operations and proactive containment efforts continue for what is now the largest recorded fire in California's modern history.
Friday 9:30 p.m. It took the Thomas Fire only 2½ weeks to burn its way into history books as it became the largest blaze ever officially recorded in California. At 273,400 acres, it has eclipsed the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego County, which burned 273,246 acres.
The Cedar Fire had been recognized as the biggest California wildfire in terms of acreage since 1932. Some fires before that date undoubtedly were larger, but records are unreliable, according to state fire officials.
Coming on the heels of October's wine country wildfires, the milestone reaffirmed 2017 as the most destructive fire season on record in the state. Despite its size, the Thomas Fire has been less destructive than either the wine country fires or the Cedar Fire, which destroyed 2,820 structures and killed 15 people. The Thomas Fire has destroyed more than 1,000 structures and has been associated with two deaths.
The fire consumed tens of thousands of acres a day in its first week but is now nibbling up vegetation at a relatively slow pace — 288 acres on Wednesday, 770 on Thursday. As of Friday, while 18,000 homes and other buildings were technically still at risk, there was little flame showing in previously burned areas and the fire was moving slowly through remote wilderness.
Crews are mopping the Camino Cielo to strengthen the fireline there. To the north of Camino Cielo, crews will patrol the fireline in the Zaca Fire area and monitor fire spread where line construction has not been possible due to very rough terrain. The controlled burning operation from the past few days will be mopped up and patrolled.
North of Fillmore, fire behavior has been was minimal where it has backed into the Sespe drainage. The fire's spread east of Rose Valley to Bear Haven will be monitored by air. Fire spread has been minimal in this area for the past week, Cal Fire reported.
Carpinteria, the Ojai Valley area and Highway 126 between Highway 150 and Fillmore are all in patrol status and will transition to unstaffed.
Cal Fire gave these statistics on resources in the battle against the blaze:
- Fire engines: 171
- Helicopters: 26
- Bulldozers: 21
- Water tenders: 38
- Hand crews: 63
- Total personnel: 2,841
Friday 8:43 a.m. According to Cal Fire, the Thomas Fire grew to 272,800 acres and remained 65 percent contained as of Friday morning. The blaze is moving slowly through the Sespe Wilderness through and Bear Haven area. It is being closely monitored. Crews are patrolling for any smoldering in the areas of Carpinteria, Ojai Valley and Highway 126 between Highway 150 and Fillmore.
Friday 1:30 a.m. Cal Fire reported that a dry cold front moved through the area and was replaced by a weak offshore flow. Winds gusting up to 50 mph produced no remarkable fire activity Thursday in the Montecito, Camino Cielo or Fillmore areas. Crews worked on mopping up the Camino Cielo area to strengthen the fireline there. To the north of there, direct and indirect fireline construction continued toward the footprint of the Zaca Fire. Controlled burning in Rose Valley will continue. East of there, crews will continue direct line construction, moving toward the Sespe Wilderness boundary.
Cal Fire released these statistics on resources being used against the fire:
- Fire engines: 290
- Water tenders: 45
- Helicopters: 26
- Hand crews: 133
- Bulldozers: 26
- Other equipment: Six
- Total personnel: 4,729
Thursday 6 p.m. Officials offered what they expect to be the final evening briefing on the Thomas Fire. They indicated that crews had a good day battling the fire, saying they had to "work hard" to find smoke and hot spots to take care of. Containment rose to 65 percent and the number of personnel working the fire declined to 4,729, down from more than 8,000 at the height of the fire. Here's more of what they said:
Thursday 2:30 p.m. The Red Cross also announced it will close its shelter 3 p.m. Friday at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. The nonprofit said the closure is decided at the request of local officials.
As of Wednesday night, the shelter was housing 164 people.
Tony Briggs, a Red Cross spokesman, said that the organization will put up in local hotels residents who lost their homes or whose homes were deemed unihabitable while they work out their recovery.
He said a large homeless population has also stayed at the shelter.
“We’re working with the county to make them aware of county services If they’d like to take advantage of them,” Briggs said.
Separately, the winter warming shelter opened Thursday at the Ventura Armory.
Thursday 2:21 p.m. The House passed an $81 billion disaster aid measure that nearly doubles President Donald Trump's most recent request for hurricane-hit Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, along with regions of California ravaged by recent wildfires.
The 251-169 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where changes await and a vote isn't likely until next month.
The massive measure brings the total approved this year for disaster aid to more than $130 billion. Even more is possible, especially for Puerto Rico, where many areas are still without electricity months after Maria struck the island.
Many Democrats opposed the bill, pressing for greater help for Puerto Rico and hoping to leverage their votes on the measure into victories elsewhere on the year-end agenda.
Thursday 2 p.m. The mandatory evacuation order in the Rose Valley community has been lifted, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office announced.
Residents on Highway 33 between Rose Valley north to Hartman Ranch will remain under voluntary evacuation warning due to fire activity in the nearby area.
Due to fire activity, debris and fire apparatus along the roadway, Highway 33, between Fairview Road and Lockwood, will remain closed to through traffic. Escorts may be required. Residents are asked to remain aware as fire equipment will continue to work in the area.
For information about returning home after a wildfire, please visit www.Readyforwildfire.org/after-a-wildfire/
Thursday 10 a.m. The one-stop center for Thomas Fire victims at the Poinsettia Pavilion will close Saturday, Ventura County officials announced.
The Local Assistance Center hours will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The center is loated at 3451 Foothill Road, Ventura. County, city, state and federal agencies as well as nonprofits have had respresentatives available for questions and information.
Dan Paranick, Ventura assistant city manager, said the number of people using the center has dropped off.
After the center at the Poinsettia Pavilion closes, residents will need to visit the agencies separately. Ventura has created a fire-related service counter at City Hall.
The county and the city opened the center Dec. 13 to help fire victims and as of Thursday morning has helped nearly 2,000 households.
The county has also opened Recovery Information Center trailers in Ojai and Santa Paula which will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Friday.
Thursday 9 a.m. The California Highway Patrol in Santa Barbara said all closures in the Thomas Fire evacuation zones had been lifted. Residents are free to return to their homes.
Thursday6 a.m. Overnight, the Thomas Fire grew by 200 acres, reaching a total of 272,200 acres since its start Dec. 4.
“The past three days of reduced fire behavior has allowed crews to continue securing the Montecito area effectively with tactical patrol and line improvement,” says the Cal Fire’s incident report Thursday morning.
It’s still bone dry in the fire area, which hasn’t had rainfall greater than 0.1 of an inch since February. Longterm, there’s no precipitation in the forecast.
Late Wednesday, a dry cold front reached the fire area, bringing strong north winds comparable to those that occurred Saturday when the fire marched toward Montecito. The north winds are expected to last into Thursday morning.
“The current north wind event will wind test these areas, as remnant heat will be fanned by strong wind,” the report says. The Santa Anas are expected to return when the front leaves.
In Ventura County, fire operations in the Rose Valley is estimated to take four days to complete. Carpinteria, the Ojai Valley area, and the area within Highway 126 between Highway 150 and Fillmore are all in patrol status. Resources have maintained a presence along the Highway 101 area, to the east of Fillmore to Highway 150.
Thursday 2 a.m. According to Cal Fire, strong north winds will continue in the early morning hours, after which moderate Santa Ana winds will return the fire area.
The north winds will produce similar conditions to those experienced when the fire made its push into Montecito on Saturday, according to Cal Fire. With the introduction of these winds, critically dry fuels will spread the fire easily.
Montecito will continue to be an area of concern, as north winds there are funneled through the Santa Ynez Range. Resources will maintain a strong presence in that area, continuing with tactical patrol and improvement of the fire perimeter. Firefighters will continue strengthening the fireline.
In the north, controlled burning operations will be ongoing based on weather conditions.
In the east, firefighters will patrol the fireline that has been established from Devil's Gate to Fillmore.
The area between Fillmore and Ventura along Highway 126 will remain in patrol status. Patrol and mop-up of isolated hot spots around the Ojai Valley area will continue. Contingency groups will continue to construct secondary lines to the west of Gibraltar Road and north of the Sespe drainage.
Fire suppression repair and damage inspection will continue as appropriate.
Cal Fire said resources on the fire include 416 engines, 54 water tenders, 34 helicopters, 160 hand crews, 34 bulldozers and six other piece of equipment. Personnel total 5,746.
Wednesday 6:50 p.m. State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, has introduced legislation to protect residents from canceled insurance policies. The Wildfire Safety and Recovery Act would require companies to offer mitigation discounts to homeowners who invested in fire-resistant materials and seek approval from the Department of Insurance before reducing policies in high-risk areas. Read more
Wednesday 6 p.m. Authorities held a briefing to provide updates on the Thomas Fire:
Wednesday 4:55 p.m. Sherd on Twitter:
Wednesday 2 p.m. The funeral for Cal Fire engineer Cory Iverson who died Dec. 14 fighting the Thomas Fire in rough terrain outside Fillmore is set for Saturday.
A private celebration of life is planned for Iverson's family, friends and members of the fire service at 10 a.m. at Rock Church in San Diego, Cal Fire officials said in a news release. Iverson, 32, is survived by his wife Ashley and daughter Evie, 2. His wife is pregnant with the couple's second child.
Iverson worked for the department's San Diego Unit as a member of a fire strike team. The apparatus engineer with Cal Fire's San Diego unit died from thermal injuries and smoke inhalation, according to the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office.
Thousands of people paid their respects Sunday to Iverson as his body was carried from Ventura to his San Diego home during a procession that spanned five counties.
Donations can be made to Cal Fire Local 2881 San Diego Chapter. For more information, visit http://l2881sd.org. Cards for the Iverson family are being accepted care of Cal Fire San Diego Unit Headquarters, 2249 Jamacha Road, El Cajon, CA 92019.
Wednesday 6:30 a.m. Containment grew to 60 percent but the acreage stayed at 272,000 acres in the third week of the Thomas Fire. It’s the first time since the fire started Dec. 4 that it didn’t expand. The cost to fight Thomas, however, can’t say the same. The estimated expense is pegged at $156.9 million. With the progress on the fire, more fire personnel have returned to their respective departments. About 6,500 are now assigned to the fire compared to 8,500 at the height of the blaze.
This afternoon, winds are expected to pick up from the north and east. These are the same types of patterns that pushed the fire toward Montecito late last week.
Firefighters are on alert in Montecito, Ojai and Carpinteria. They are also on tactical patrol in the area between the rock formation Devil’s Gate and Fillmore and the area between Fillmore and Ventura along Highway 126.
Tuesday 9:55 p.m. The Santa Barbara Zoo’s visit from two of Santa’s reindeer has been cut short by the Thomas Fire, Tribune Content Agency reports. The zoo welcomed two male reindeer Nov. 22, an adult named Holiday and a first-year calf named Lightning. On Monday, Holiday and Lightning had to return home to the “North Pole” (by way of Windswept Ranch, near Tehachapi) as the Thomas Fire continues to burn nearby. The pair were originally slated to be at the zoo through the new year. “We’re sad to see our visiting reindeer Lightning and Holiday leave, but they have important work to do back at the North Pole,” the zoo wrote in a Facebook post. This was the first time in the zoo’s 54-year history that it exhibited reindeer.
Tuesday 6:02 p.m. The Thomas Fire has become the No. 2 recorded California wildfire in number of acres. The fire has reached 272,000 acres, authorities said at a briefing Tuesday evening. That put it higher than the previous No. 2, the Rush Fire of August 2012, which reached 271,911 acres.
Tuesday 6 p.m. Authorities held a briefing to offer updates on the Thomas Fire:
Tuesday 4:10 p.m. The weather outlook is prompting a red-flag fire warning for southern Santa Barbara County from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Thursday and a fire weather watch for Ventura County from early Thursday to Friday morning. The National Weather Service expects sundowner winds in Santa Barbara County with isolated gusts up to 60 mph from Wednesday afternoon into Thursday morning. Winds could shift into Santa Ana winds from the northeast on Thursday and Friday in Ventura County with gusts up to 40-50 mph and humidity declining to 5 to 15 percent.
Tuesday noon More evacuation orders were lifted in Santa Barbara County:
- The evacuation order has been lifted for all areas and residences north of Highway 192 (Foothill Road) to E. Camino Cielo in between Ladera Lane and Cravens Lane, including Toro Canyon, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office announced.
- The evacuation order has been changed to an evacuation warning for all areas and residences north of Highway 192 (Foothill Road) to E. Camino Cielo in between Highway 154 and N. Ontare Road.
Tuesday9:30 a.m. An information center will open Wednesday in Santa Paula to help residents of the city, the Santa Clara River Valley and the surrounding area who have been affected by the Thomas Fire.
The center, operated by the Ventura County government, will be in a trailer parked in Steckel Park, 8080 Mistletoe Road, near Santa Paula off Highway 150. The center will be open daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday.
Residents can get information from Ventura County agencies about: debris removal and permitting information; applications for public assistance and housing/rental assistance and health education, resources and counseling.
Proof of residency is not required for most of the information
The center may reopen after Christmas if there’s a demand, officials said.
Tuesday 7 a.m. Fire activity slowed a bit overnight and fire crews managed “to strengthen containment lines and continue mop up,” according to Cal Fire. Winds coming from the southwest are expected to develop this afternoon and into the early evening.
Conditions are improving with a slight increase in relative humidity and weaker wind speeds, but vegetation is still “critically dry,” according to Cal Fire. Firefighters continue to focus efforts in Montecito and some hot spots within the Ojai Valley area.
The completion of a line from Fillmore to the rock formation Devil's Gate has lessened the threat to Fillmore. To the north and east, the fire continues to progress further into the Matilija and Sespe Wilderness and toward the Sespe Condor Sanctuary, Cal Fire said in its morning report.
Monday 10 p.m. On the fire's 15th day, some out-of-area fire crews were being released back to their home departments, Ventura County Fire Department officials reported.
The fire's most active area Monday was the western flank, in Santa Barbara County, and the far northern area in wilderness areas above Ojai, where firefighters were proactively burning while weather was favorable, fire officials reported.
The fire was active Monday in the upper reaches of the Sespe River and is expected to spread into the footprint of the 2002 Wolf Fire, along the Highway 33 corridor north of Ojai.
In the Montecito area, Coast Village Road between Olive Mill and Hot Springs will reopen at 6 a.m. Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff announced. Roads on the north side of Coast Village will remain closed.
Monday 4:30 p.m. The city of Ventura announced it will have parcel record packets available to homeowners whose homes were either destroyed or suffered damage in the Thomas Fire. The packets will be available starting Tuesday, at 8 a.m. at Ventura City Hall, 501 Poli St. during City Hall business hours in room 124, lower level, west wing. City Hall is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.
Property owners must bring identification and may pick up their individualized packet Residents may also request an electronic version of the parcel packet by emailing their request to CDTR@cityofventura.ca.gov.
Packets will include:
- Building Permit Records - Including historic building permits and/or planning permits.
- Property Zoning Information
- Subdivision Tract Information, if applicable.
- Packets will not include copyrighted plans or calculations/reports.
The City’s Ventura Community Development Department compiled all records for parcels with homes or structures that were damaged or destroyed. This information may assist homeowners with filing insurance claims and beginning the rebuild process.
Monday 2:30 p.m. At last count, the Red Cross continued to house 405 people — 260 in Ventura and 145 in Santa Barbara, said Georgia Duncan, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit. Their efforts for displaced residents were going well at both sites, she said.
Noon Monday Evacuation orders and warnings have been lifted for portions of Santa Barbara County:
- The area defined within W. Mission Street at Highway 101, east to State St, north to Constance Ave, east to Garden Street, south to Los Olivos Street, east to Alameda Padre Serra, south to S. Salinas Street to Highway 101, and from Highway 101 east to Avenida Padre Serra.
- The area South of Highway 101 to the Pacific Ocean, between Ninos Drive east to Sheffield Road.
- All areas from Toro Canyon Road east to Casitas Pass Road and between Highway 101 north to Foothill Road / Highway 192.
- All areas east of Cravens Lane to Casitas Pass Road, and Foothill Road north to E. Camino Cielo.
- The evacuation order has been reduced to an evacuation warning in all areas from Toro Canyon, west to Olive Mill Road, from Highway 101 north to Highway 192.
Monday 7 a.m. Overnight the Thomas Fire grew by 500 acres and weak northeast winds prevailed. They are forecasted to shift south to southwest in the afternoon.
Cal Fire said the areas of concern are above the coastal Santa Barbara County communities, including Santa Barbara, Montecito and Summerland. Other areas firefighters are watching closely are Matilija Wilderness, Rose Valley and Sespe river drainage north of Fillmore. The threat continues to Fillmore and surrounding agricultural values with fire being established in the Sespe drainage.
Sunday 7:45 p.m. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries Sunday, officials said. Airlifts were required in at least one case due to the remote location, they said.
Two homes were destroyed in Montecito over the weekend and another 7 damaged, Cal Fire officials said. A half-dozen outbuildings there were also damaged or destroyed during the firefight that erupted in Santa Barbara's front country starting Saturday morning when wind gusts up to 70 mph pushed flames down from canyons toward homes in the foothills.
No structures were lost or damaged over the weekend in the Fillmore area, where the fire was also most active.
Sunday 6 p.m. All evacuation orders have been lifted for:
- Hall Road east toward Sespe Creek, Fillmore city limits to the south and Los Padres National Forest boundary to the north
- North of Fillmore city limits along Goodenough Road to Los Padres National Forest boundary to the north
Sunday 2:20 p.m. The funeral procession for fallen Cal Fire engineer Cory Iverson, 32, left the Ventura County Medical Examiner's office in Ventura around 10 a.m. today and was scheduled to arrive at El Camino Memorial Park in the San Diego area in the afternoon. Iverson died Thursday near Fillmore while fighting the blaze.
Jail visitation was canceled Sunday at the pre-trial facility in Ventura and at Todd Road jail near Santa Paula due to fire impacts.
Evacuation orders were lifted Sunday morning for residents along Highway 150 in Ventura County, from Santa Ana Road near Lake Casitas to State Route 192 east of Carpinteria, where the state highway is known as Casitas Pass Road.
Orders were also lifted for Carpinteria residents living north of SR-192 between Cravens Lane and Casitas Pass Road, though the order remains for areas within Los Padres National Forest boundaries.
An evacuation warning was lifted for areas between Highway 101 and SR-192 stretching from Casitas Pass Road on the east to Cravens Lane on the west.
Highway 154 reopened Sunday afternoon in Santa Barbara County. The route, also known as San Marcos Pass, is a widely used shortcut for travelers on Highway 101.
Evidence suggesting an illegal marijuana butane honey oil extraction lab was uncovered in the fire area in Montecito, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's office reported Sunday. The lab in the 2200 block of Bella Vista Drive was being investigated Wednesday as flames were bearing down on the home and utilized highly flammable fuel that posed the risk of explosion, officials said.
Sunday 1:15 p.m. Red-flag fire warnings remain in place because of high winds and low humidity. Critical fire weather will continue over the Thomas Fire area, with north/northeast winds forecast, according to Cal Fire. Critical fire weather combined with very high fuel loading, critically low fuel moistures and single-digit relative humidities will continue to support fire growth on the west, east and north sides of the fire, Cal Fire said. Areas of concern are above coastal Santa Barbara County communities including Santa Barbara, Montecito and Summerland and also the Matilija Wilderness, Rose Valley and Sespe river drainage north of Fillmore. The threat continues to Fillmore and surrounding agricultural areas, Cal Fire said.
Sunday 3:15 a.m. Here are some direct links to Cal Fire's evacuation maps:
- Ventura County: http://bit.ly/2CK8JPm
- Santa Barbara County: http://bit.ly/2oqR4JF
Sunday 12:30 a.m. A red-flag fire warning is in effect through Sunday evening, with declining humidity and the return of Santa Ana winds with gusts up to around 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Cal Fire released statistics about the resources battling the Thomas Fire as of Saturday night, with the numbers generally slightly increasing from 24 hours earlier. Notably, personnel increased by 159 over the figure from 24 hours earlier. Resources as of Saturday:
- Fire engines: 972
- Water tenders: 94
- Helicopters: 34
- Hand crews: 164
- Bulldozers: 77
- Other equipment: Five
- Personnel: 8,477