Los Padres National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Goleta, CA 93117
Goleta, Calif., January 1, 2018 — For Immediate Release.
Start Date: December 4, 2017 Cause: Under Investigation Size: 281,893 acres
Containment: 92% Personnel: 495 Structures Destroyed: 1,063 Structures Damaged: 280
Current Situation: Cooler temperatures and increased humidity resulted in minimal fire activity Dec. 31 as fire crews sought out and extinguished areas of heat within the Thomas Fire perimeter. Crews also focused on repairing landscape affected by the construction of wildfire containment lines and other suppression activities. More than 120 miles of suppression repair to fire lines has been completed out of approximately 279 miles of containment lines.
Firefighters are monitoring slowly burning and smoldering pockets of fire around Bear Heaven and Rose Valley, where inaccessibly steep and rocky terrain make direct attack on the fire unsafe. A helicopter made multiple water drops in the Bear Heaven areas yesterday.
The Los Padres National Forest has reduced its closure order to only the Thomas Fire perimeter on National Forest System lands within the Santa Barbara and Ojai Ranger Districts. The Sage Hill Campground is temporarily closed while fire crews use it as a temporary staging area. The Mount Pinos Ranger District is now open to the public.
The public is reminded that even though some roads through closed areas are open, no trails or public access is allowed. Motorists and visitors should remain vigilant as roads and trails that have been opened may be in use by heavy equipment and/or fire crews working in the area.
The public also is advised to use extreme caution when in burned areas because fire-damaged trees continue to fall and rocks and other debris have been seen rolling down hillsides.
Level 3 fire restrictions are in effect for the Los Padres National Forest. Campfires are allowed only in designated-use sites, and no fires are allowed in the backcountry; portable stoves and lanterns (with an on-off switch) are only permitted with a valid California Campfire Permit.
The federal Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) team and California Watershed Emergency Response Team (WERT) are assessing areas within the Thomas Fire for burn severity and identifying locations at risk for flooding, debris flows and other post-fire hazards. The teams will turn over their data to Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management and Ventura County Office of Emergency Services, who will develop emergency preparedness and response plans for their respective communities.
Not every wildfire affects the landscape in the same way, so areas that may not have been flood- or slide-prone previously may now be at risk. County-based emergency service agencies are reviewing assessment reports from the BAER and WERT teams and working on emergency preparation plans for affected communities. After a wildfire, flood risk is usually highest until vegetation returns, which can take up to five years. Flood preparation information is available at www.awareandprepare.org for Santa Barbara County and www.venturacountyrecovers.org for Ventura County.
Closures: Download the revised closure order and map.