01-04-2018 Daily Update Thomas Fire
Incident: Thomas Fire Wildfire
Goleta, Calif., January 4, 2018 — For Immediate Release.
Start Date: December 4, 2017 Cause: Under Investigation Size: 281,893 acres
Containment: 92% Personnel: 407 Structures Destroyed: 1,063 Structures Damaged: 280
Current Situation: Helicopters made multiple water drops Wednesday in the Bear Heaven area, where steep and rocky terrain has made direct attack of the fire inaccessible to firefighters. Infrared aerial surveillance of the Hartman Ranch and Rose Valley areas showed water drops on Tuesday were effective in reducing hot spots in those regions. Weather permitting, helicopters will conduct additional surveillance flights today to assess any changes resulting from overnight and early morning rainfall.
Crews are repairing landscape impacted by the construction of wildfire containment lines and other suppression activities. More than 157 miles of suppression repair to fire lines has been completed out of about 279 miles of containment lines.
Motorists and visitors should use caution as crews and heavy equipment remain active in and around the fire vicinity, even in areas without active wildfire. Suppression repair crews are particularly active along the East Camino Cielo between Highway 154 and Painted Cave Road. They’ve completed work along the Snyder Trail and are moving toward Freemont Ridge and Matias Trail. Crews also are working around the Rose Valley area, progressing toward Pine Mountain.
The Los Padres National Forest is closed to the public within the Thomas Fire perimeter on 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.
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.
Flood Preparation: Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties are posting flood preparation and recovery information on the following websites: