Raging 150-Square-Mile Thomas Fire Prompts Mandatory Evacuations in Santa Barbara County
Anthony Kurzweil, Christina Pascucci, Steve Kuzj and Simone Boyce
This is a developing wildfire story. Please check back frequently for updates.
As evacuation orders continue to expand amid the massive Thomas Fire burning in Ventura County, residents trying to flee the danger areas had to work around closures on the 101 Freeway and Highway 150 Thursday.
The fire has burned 96,000 acres — or about 150 square miles — and is just 5 percent contained, fire officials tweeted Thursday morning.
The 101 Freeway was temporarily shut down to all northbound traffic at State Route 126, and to all southbound traffic beginning at Bates Road, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office stated in a news release early Thursday morning. The 101 was later reopened in both directions with escorts being provided, the California Highway Patrol tweeted just after 7 a.m.
State Route 150 was also closed between Carpentaria and Ojai, where mandatory evacuation orders were issued for some areas Wednesday night.
The fire spread overnight Wednesday into Thursday due to strong Santa Ana winds and grew significantly north of the City of Ojai, according to Cal Fire.
The fire was also moving north toward the Santa Barbara County line and Lake Casitas, as well as toward the Los Padres National Forest and Sespe Wilderness, Cal Fire stated.
Smoke from the Thomas fire burning in Ventura County fans out across the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 7, 2017. (Credit: KTLA)
Firefighters in La Conchita managed to save several homes from a flare up Thursday morning, Ventura County Fire Department Public Information Officer Rich Macklin said.
“We saved about six homes,” said Macklin, who described the firefight in that area as a success. Only one abandoned structure was lost.
The La Conchita homes were threatened hours after the main burn rolled through the area about 1 a.m., Macklin said.
Authorities made a grim discovery in Wheeler Canyon when they found the body of a woman in a wrecked car, Macklin said.
It was unclear if the crash was related to the fire.
The Thomas Fire rages in Ventura County on Dec. 7, 2017. (Credit: KTLA)
About 2,500 firefighters were battling the blaze by ground and air, according to Cal Fire.
At least 150 structures have been destroyed, however that number is expected to rise when officials get a chance to resurvey the damage. At least 12,000 structures remain threatened.
Officials have advised residents in the Upper Ojai Valley, Casitas Springs Foster Park and entire City of Ventura boil all tap water for at least a minute before using it for cooking or drinking.
Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for the following areas Thursday:
City of Santa Paula - Boundary of Say Road north to Thomas Aquinas, Dickenson Ranch Road east to Santa Paula Creek
Santa Paula unincorporated area, east of Santa Paula Creek, north of highway 126, west of Hall Road and south of the Ventura Regional Sanitation
City of Santa Paula - Boundary of Monte Vista Street north to city limits, Foothill Road from Steckel to Peck Road to north of city limits
Santa Paula unincorporated area towards Ventura- North of Foothill Road from Peck Road to Wells Road including: Wheeler Canyon, Aliso Canyon and Rancho Vista
City of Ventura - Teloma east to Brent Street, Telegraph Road north to north of Foothill Road
City of Ventura - Victoria Road east to Hill Road, Telegraph Road north to Foothill Road
City of Ventura - North Ashwood Avenue east to Hill Road, Telegraph Road north to Foothill Road
City of Ventura - North of Foothill Road from Wells Road to Poli Street
City of Ventura - North of Main Street from Seward Avenue to Hwy 33 (includes entire Ventura Avenue area)
Oak View - Boundary of Hwy 33, Creek Road and Hermosa Road
Meiners Oaks - North of E. El Roblar between Rice Road and Hwy 33
Entire Community of Casitas Springs - Evacuate to Ventura County Fairgrounds - 10 West Harbor Blvd., Ventura
Lake Casitas - North of Hwy 150 heading to Hwy 33 and south of Los Padres National Forest
East Ojai Valley - Carne Road east to Koenigstein Road, SR 150 north to Thacher Road
Ojai - Casitas Pass Road east to Rice Road, Baldwin Road to North of Matilija Canyon (Includes Burnham Road North to Baldwin Road)
Upper Ojai Valley - Hwy 150 from Dennison Grade east to Osborne Road and all residences north
Upper Ojai Valley (West) - Hwy 33 - Matilija Canyon
Unincorporated Ventura County area - Residents and day visitors of Rose Valley
Ventura County North Coast Area - Boundary of Hwy 33 on the north to Casitas Vista Road, northwest to Hwy 150, Hwy 150 (Casitas Pass Road) west to US 101 and south on US 101 (including Pacific Coast Highway) to Emma Wood State Beach
There are no evacuations in Santa Barbara County at this time.
A map of the Thomas Fire provided by readyventuracounty.org.