Thomas Fire grows to 90,000 acres as of Wednesday evening

A helicopter heads out to drop water on the Thomas fire in Ventura, CA. The Thomas Fire started in Santa Paula and made its way to Ventura on December 5, 2017.

Staff Report

*This article was originally published from our sister publication The Santa Barbara Family and Life Magazine*

The Thomas Fire is getting close but hasn’t yet breached into Santa Barbara County, and has grown to more than 90,000 acres as of Wednesday evening, according to fire officials.

A firefighter sprays down during debris at a house in Ventura, CA. The Thomas Fire started in Santa Paula and made its way to Ventura on December 5, 2017.

“Crews are having success establishing lines, and the winds are starting to pick up as predicted and fire behavior is increasing. As we move further east and to the south limited fire behavior but in difficult terrain,” said a Ventura County Fire spokesman during a news conference Wednesday evening.

Rich Thompson, the incident meteorologist with the National Weather Service, stated there will be a continuation of red flag conditions through Saturday evening, meaning critical fire weather for the region.

Tonight there are strengthening Santa Ana winds and tomorrow northeast wind gust of 30 – 50 miles per hour and relative humiliates in the single digits, Thompson said.

“This is a recipe for explosive fire growth,” Thompson said.

The fire started just before 7 p.m. Monday along Highway 150 in the 1000 block of Ojai Road in the vicinity of Thomas Aquinas College and Steckel Park.

Fire officials are estimating roughly 150 buildings, from residences to apartment complexes and other structures, have been lost.

Ventura County emergency information is available here, including updated evacuation notices, road closures, school closures, and shelter locations.

Caltrans District 7 has emergency road and highway closure information online here.

Current map of the Thompson Fire incident, by the Ventura County Office of Emergency Management.

Ventura, Santa Paula, and Ventura County have all declared local emergencies in response to the fire. Schools in the affected areas will remain closed on Wednesday, according to the Ventura County Office of Education.

Santa Barbara County Public Health and Air Pollution Control District officials issued an air quality warning Tuesday as smoke and ash from the Thomas Fire blew into the area.

Casitas Municipal Water District has issued a boil water order for the Upper Ojai Valley, Casitas Springs, Foster Park and entire City of Ventura due to loss of pressure and water supply from the fire related power outages. All tap water used for drinking and cooking should be boiled to a rolling boil for approximately 1 minute. This is the preferred method to ensure water is safe to drink.

The City of Ventura Police Department has declared a curfew in respnse to the fire. Effective December 5, 2017 a curfew is in effect starting at 10pm and ending at 5am daily.