Thomas Fire 40% Containment — Incident Overview from the Government Incident Information System

Incident Overview

Thomas Fire Information Map for December 15, 2017Image options: [ Enlarge ] [ Full Size ]

Thomas Fire Evening Update for December 16, 2017

County of Santa Barbara
Ventura County

Santa Barbara County Evacuation Map
Ventura County Evacuation Map

If a Mandatory Evacuation (Order) is issued, you are advised to leave the area immediately. Emergency response personnel may not be able to assist you if you choose to remain. In addition, your presence in the area may hinder emergency response. The mandatory evacuation area will be patrolled by law enforcement personnel. 

Voluntary Evacuation (Warning) means there is a potential threat to life and property from the fire, but does not generally require leaving immediately. People in the Voluntary Evacuation (Warning) Area should make preparations should a mandatory evacuation order be issued. If you live in a voluntary evacuation zone, you should be prepared to leave immediately upon receiving instructions to do so. You may receive these instructions with very little notice. People with access and functional needs should consider leaving now. Consideration of evacuating large animals now may be prudent.

Current road closures

The Thomas Fire has now been burning for 13 days. It broke out December 4th near Thomas Aquinas College in Ojai. The fire was fanned by strong Santa Ana winds overnight, and quickly spread into the city of Ventura. More than 500 structures in Ventura County were destroyed. The fire crossed into Los Padres National Forest and is now burning in the Santa Barbara and Ojai Ranger Districts. Los Padres is in Unified Command with Cal Fire and other local cooperating agencies. Approximately 61% of the fire is on federal lands. 130,707 acres are on National Forest System Lands. A Forest Closure Order prohibits public access in the Santa Barbara, Ojai and Mt. Pinos Ranger Districts. The fire is now the 3rd largest fire in California’s history. The Thomas Fire is under unified command with Cal Fire, Ventura County Fire, United States Forest Service , Ventura County Sheriff and Santa Barbara County Fire.

Very strong north winds materialized this morning around 0700 increasing fire behavior significantly in the Santa Barbara Front Country. Fire made an aggressive southward push into the community of Montecito, impacting some structures there. Red flag warnings will remain in place over various portions of the fire over the next operational period for high wind and low humidity. Critical fire weather will continue over the fire area, with north/northeast winds forecasted. This weather pattern will be conducive to west- and southward fire growth, continuing to threaten the communities of Santa Barbara, Montecito and Summerland in Santa Barbara County.

North winds will also exasperate the threat to Fillmore and surrounding agricultural values, with fire being established in the Sespe drainage. Mop-up operations in previously burned areas will be ongoing. On the north side of the fire, direct and indirect line construction will occur to contain fire that has spread north of Highway 33 and Rose Valley Road. Direct line construction, where possible, will continue within the Zaca Fire burn scar to Highway 33.

Fire suppression repair and Damage Inspection will continue as appropriate based on fire conditions.

 Strong, gusty down-canyon winds and extreme fire activity today will send heavy smoke and ash across eastern sections of the South Coast, spreading out into Goleta as well. Improved conditions over San Luis Obispo and north-western Santa Barbara Counties. Continued smoky over western Ventura County until the Santa Ana winds pick up tonight.

FIRE WEATHER: The combination of gusty north to northeast winds, low relative humidity and critically dry fuels will bring another round of critical fire weather conditions to the fire during the operational period. The strongest north winds will occur across the Santa Barbara Zone this morning and the strongest northeast winds will occur across the Ventura Zone Sunday Morning. 

INFORMATION KIOSKS: The following information Kiosks are staffed daily in Santa Barbara County from 10:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Paso Nuevo Shopping Center, 651 Paso Nuevo, Santa Barbara
Franklin Health Center, 1136 E. Montecito Street, Santa Barbara
Albertsons, 1018 Casitas Pass Rd, Carpenteria, CA
La Cumbre Shopping Plaza, 121 S. Hope Ave. Santa Barbara
Montecito Elementary School, 385 San Ysidro Rd. Montecito

The Thomas fire has experienced a long duration Santa Ana wind event, which began on December 4th, and has contributed to rapid growth and extreme fire behavior. Santa Ana winds originate from high-pressure air masses over the Great Basin and upper Mojave Desert. These cool dry air masses sweep across the deserts of eastern California through the mountain passes and canyons to the Pacific Ocean. Three things happen under these conditions: It gets warmer, winds get faster, and humidity plummets. The Thomas Fire has experienced winds exceeding 70 miles per hour, temperatures in the mid 80’s and humidity below 10 percent. more…..

Thomas Fire December 14, 2017Thomas Fire December 14, 2017
Ventura County Fire Information Line:
Santa Barbara County Fire Information Line: 800-400-1572

Thomas FireThomas Fire


Incident Start Date: 12/04/2017 Incident Start Time: 6:26 P.M.

Incident Type: Wildland Fire Cause: Under Investigation

Incident Location: Santa Paula / Ventura Expected Containment: Unknown

Total Acreage: 267,500 Containment: 40%

Firefighter Injuries: 0 Civilian Injuries: 0 Firefighter Fatalities: 1

Structures Threatened: 18,000 Single Family Residences Destroyed: 75Single Family Residences Damaged: 189

Multiple Residence Destroyed: 2 Mixed Commercial/Residential Destroyed: 2

Commercial Structures Destroyed: 19 Other Minor Structures Destroyed: 241 Other Minor Structures Damaged: 40

Total Personnel: 8,477 Engines: 972 Water Tenders: 94 Helicopters: 34 Hand Crews: 164Dozers: 77 Other: 5

Santa Barbara
: San Marcos High School, 4750 Hollister Ave. Santa Barbara, CA 93110 daily @ 4p.m.

If You Fly We Can't

Federal, state, and local wildland fire management agencies and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) urge members of the public not to fly “Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)” or drones over or near wildfires. Unauthorized drone flights pose serious risks to firefighter and public safety and the effectiveness of wildfire suppression operations. more…..

PRESS CONFERENCES: Ventura County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa Hall, 10 West Harbor Blvd. Ventura, CA 6:00 p.m. Daily

Ventura County School Closures 

Santa Barbara County School Closures

Thomas fire December 12 & 13Cooperators on the Thomas Fire


City of Ventura – Ventura County Fairgrounds at Miners Building
City of Goleta – UCSB

Thomas FireThomas Fire

All animal evacuations are being handled at the Ventura County Fairgrounds located at 10 W Harbor Blvd, Ventura, CA 93001

MAPS: Operations Map Information Map Interactive Evacuation Map Progression Map Land Ownership Map

Los Padres National Forest encompasses approximately 1.75 million acres of central California’s scenic Coast and Transverse Ranges. The forest stretches across almost 220 miles from north to south and consists of two separate land divisions. The northern division is within Monterey County and northern San Luis Obispo County and includes the beautiful Big Sur Coast and scenic interior areas. The “main division” of the forest includes lands within San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern Counties. More….Los Padres National Forest encompasses approximately 1.75 million acres of central California’s scenic Coast and Transverse Ranges. The forest stretches across almost 220 miles from north to south and consists of two separate land divisions. The northern division is within Monterey County and northern San Luis Obispo County and includes the beautiful Big Sur Coast and scenic interior areas. The “main division” of the forest includes lands within San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern Counties. 

The Los Padres National Forest has 10 Congressionally designated Wildernesses comprising 875,000 acres, or approximately 48% of the 1.75 million acre National Forest.

CAL FIRE, Ventura County Fire, Ventura County Sheriff, Santa Barbara County Fire, Santa Barbara County Sheriff, Santa Barbara City Fire, City of Ventura Fire, City of Ventura Police Department, USFS/Los Padres National Forest, CAL OES, Red Cross, Southern California Edison, CHP, California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, SoCalGas, Santa Paula Police, Santa Paula Fire, Ventura County OES, Santa Barbara OEM, Montecito Fire, Carpinteria – Summerland Fire, California Conservation Corp, Oxnard Fire Department, Oxnard Police Department. 

Basic Information

Current as of 12/16/2017, 8:54:51 PM
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Unknown
Date of Origin Monday December 04th, 2017 approx. 06:30 PM
Location Ojai, Santa Paula, Ventura, Montecito, Carpenteria, Santa Barbara, Fillmore
Incident Commander Unified Command: CALFIRE, Ventura County, Los Padres NF, Ventura Fire, Ventura Sheriff.

Current Situation

Total Personnel 8,477
Size 267,500 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained 40%
Estimated Containment Date Sunday January 07th, 2018 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved Chaparral, tall grasses and brush
Significant Events Fire continued to back into the Sespe drainage above Fillmore. Active backing continued in the north along Highway 33. Fire  behavior in the Santa Barbara front country was moderate. To the south of Camino Cielo, fire continued to move, spotting north of the Camino Cielo.


Planned Actions Crews will continue with direct line construction and maintain readiness to implement the contingency plan of firing indirect

line if needed. Structure preparation and defense will continue in active areas of the fire. Crews will patrol the front country of

Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito, and the City of Santa Barbara. Evacuation planning and implementation will continue as


To the north of Camino Cielo, both direct line and indirect line construction will proceed northward, buffering with firing

operations as necessary. Direct line construction will continue in the Zaca Fire, transitioning to indirect as it extends to

Highway 33 at Pine Mountain. Planning for firing operations along the indirect fireline from the Zaca fire to Highway 33 will be

ongoing. Firing toward the Sespe drainage west from Rose Valley will continue. Contingency line construction will continue

primarily to the west and north of the fire.

In the Fillmore area, crews will mop up the edge of the firing operation edge north of town. fireline to the north of town.

Direct fireline will be constructed on the east side of the Sespe drainage in the sparse fuels. Direct and indirect line will be

constructed northward toward the sparsely vegetated Bear Haven.

Aggressive mop-up will continue in evacuated areas to support repopulation, the lifting of road closures, and to bolster

existing firelines. Repopulation will continue in select areas. Planning for evacuations and additional repopulation will


Suppression repair activities have begun in the Ojai area.

Projected Incident Activity  
Remarks A fatality of a CAL FIRE employee occurred on the fire on 12/14/2017. A Serious Accident Review Team is investigating the


Direct Protection Area by group:

(Based on best available information at time of submittal)

Federal- 61%

State- 38%

Local- 1%

CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 4 (Derum) and California Interagency Incident Management Team 4 (Kurth) are working

as an integrated team to manage this incident.

A second camp has been opened in Santa Barbara to support operations across the large expanse of the fire area. The boil

water order has been lifted.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns North to northeast winds, gusting between 25 and 40 MPH, developed last night

and this morning. With the northerly winds, relative humidity recovery was limited.

By this afternoon, the northerly winds will diminish, but are expected to increase

yet again late this afternoon and evening. Relative humidity will drop into the

single digits and low teens once again. A Red Flag Warning remains in effect for the

Satan Barbara zone.


USFS Shield

Los Padres National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Suite 150
Goleta, CA 93117


Santa Barbara County Fire Information
Phone: 800-400-1572
Hours: M-S 7-7p






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