Los Padres National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Goleta, CA 93117
December 28, 2017 8:00AM
Start Date: December 4, 2017 Cause: Under Investigation Size: 281,893 acres Containment: 91% Personnel: 655 Structures Destroyed: 1,063 Structures Damaged: 280 Current Situation: Yesterday evening, Operations Section Chief Alex McBath summed up today’s plan for the Thomas Fire as, “patrol, mop up, and hold what we’ve got.” The fire has little active heat. Identified heat sources have been well inside of the fire perimeter. No forward progress of the fire is expected. Visitors are encouraged to make plans to enjoy Santa Barbara, Ventura, and surrounding areas during the upcoming holiday weekend. Businesses are open and eager to serve the public. Please be aware some sections of the Los Padres National Forest remain closed for public safety. Reduced fire activity means there is little smoke. Firefighters remain vigilant in monitoring fire lines and are ready to respond when needed. We advise extra caution when driving. When describing yesterday’s fire activity, Operations Section Chief Pat Russell said, “No smokes, no buckets. And, we have a recon flight tomorrow.” He also described repair work being done on dozer lines and added the work would take several more days to accomplish. Los Padres National Forest is assessing wildfire damage using a specialized Burned Area Assessment Team. The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management and Ventura County Office of Emergency Services are working with communities to prepare them for post-fire hazards, most specifically flooding and debris flows. 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. The Temporary Flight Restriction has been reduced in both size and altitude, opening Santa Barbara County and restricting flights in the Ventura County area to 8,500 feet. Residents and visitors to Santa Barbara and Ventura counties may see an increase in wildlife in local communities due to displacement from the fire. Individuals who encounter these displaced animals are encouraged to maintain a safe distance, refrain from feeding them, and if a threat to humans is perceived, call 911 (https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/living-with-wildlife).
Fire Weather: Wind: expected to remain light. Temp: 70s/80s in lower elevations. Humidity: 10-30%. Rainfall chances are near zero through the end of the year into early January 2018. There is potential for record breaking temperatures today and tomorrow.
Air Quality: Smoke may be visible at times due to interior hotspots that come to life as dry weather conditions persist. About 30 oil seep fires have been ignited in the Upper Ojai area and continue to burn. In addition to smoke and ash from the Thomas Fire these oil seep fires contribute to air quality issues in the area. Application of a foam product began on December 27 that is extinguishing the oil seep fires. An updated air quality report may be found at http://www.ourair.org or http://www.vcapcd.org