Los Padres National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Goleta, CA 93117
Goleta, Calif., January 2, 2018 — For Immediate Release.
Start Date: December 4, 2017 Cause: Under Investigation Size: 281,893 acres
Containment: 92% Personnel: 487 Structures Destroyed: 1,063 Structures Damaged: 280
Current Situation: Fire activity remained at a minimum Jan. 1 with cooler temperatures and increased humidity. Fire crews took advantage of the favorable conditions to seek out and extinguish areas of heat within the Thomas Fire perimeter. A slight chance of rain is forecast for Wednesday with about 1/10th of an inch of accumulation predicted.
Firefighters are monitoring slowly burning and smoldering pockets of fire around Bear Heaven and Cherry Creek, where steep and rocky terrain makes the areas inaccessible and unsafe for direct attack by firefighters. Aircraft will collect infrared imagery over the areas today to assess hot spots and fire activity. For the second consecutive day, infrared data showed no heat being emitted around the Potrero Seco area.
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 about 279 miles of containment lines.
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 use caution as crews and heavy equipment remain active within the fire area, particularly on the East Camino Cielo and portions of Highway 154, as well as around the Rose Valley area, later progressing toward Freemont.
The Los Padres National Forest is closed to the public within the Thomas Fire perimeter within the Santa Barbara and Ojai Ranger Districts. The Sage Hill Group Campground is temporarily closed while fire crews use the area as a base camp. 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.
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.countyofsb.org/pwd/floodprep.sbc for Santa Barbara County and www.venturacountyrecovers.org for Ventura County.
Temporary closure of the East Camino Cielo from the San Marcos Station to Gibraltar Road from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and 3:30-7 p.m. daily.
Air Quality: The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District has issued an air quality warning through today because of emissions from smoldering oil seepages in the Upper Ojai Valley. Last week Ventura County firefighters began applying a mixture of specialized foam and water to extinguish the natural oil seepages that had ignited from the Thomas Fire. For more information, contact the Air Pollution Control District at 805-662-6960.
Flood Preparation: Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties are posting flood preparation and recovery information on the following websites: