Revised national forest closures due to Thomas Fire
Incident: Thomas Fire Wildfire
GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials have revised the areas closed to the public due to the Thomas Fire. The revised order opens access to the Mt. Pinos Ranger District and prohibits access to only those areas within the Thomas Fire perimeter on the Ojai and Santa Barbara Ranger Districts.
The revised order takes effect Friday, Dec. 29. Fire remains active within portions of the burned areas. Crews and heavy equipment are performing wildfire suppression, repairing areas affected by fire-suppression activities, and performing wildfire severity and hazard assessments. The closure will remain in effect until it is safe to reenter the area.
"For public and firefighter safety, the emergency closure of the Los Padres National Forest within the Thomas Fire perimeter remains in place. Firefighting personnel and equipment are still active in the area," said Pancho Smith, district ranger for the Ojai and Santa Barbara Districts. "Our top priority is the safety of the public, adjacent communities and our firefighters."
The Thomas Fire began on Monday, Dec. 4, near St. Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula. It has since burned more than 281,900 acres, becoming the largest California wildfire in modern recorded history.
Forest Service law enforcement officers will strictly enforce the closure order, which carries a penalty of up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail.