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Carpinteria City Council Declares Local State of Emergency as Thomas Fire Continues to Grow

Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Chief Ray Navarro says at least 12 structures damaged or destroyed in Gobernador Canyon, one in Toro Canyon

The Thomas Fire burns in the hills north of the Carpinteria Valley Monday, as seen from Linden Avenue and Highway 101. Click to view larger
The Thomas Fire burns in the hills north of the Carpinteria Valley Monday, as seen from Linden Avenue and Highway 101.  (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

The city of Carpinteria declared a local state of emergency Monday as the week-old Thomas Fire continues to burn west in Santa Barbara County. 

City Manager Dave Durflinger said the declaration will help Carpinteria with recovery efforts and eligibility for state aid and federal funding if it's needed.

The massive wildfire broke out north of Santa Paula Dec. 4, destroying structures and prompting tens of thousands of people to evacuate. 

As of Monday night, the fire had charred 231,700 acres and was burning in the Toro Canyon area north of Carpinteria. 

Click here for an interactive map of evacuation areas in Santa Barbara County.

​“Our hillsides have a constant glow,” Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District Chief Ray Navarro said at the Monday City Council meeting.

“We’re not out of the woods yet... We feel confident that there are enough equipment in place,” he said. “We are being aggressive with this fire.”

Navarro said by Monday, 70 strike teams with fire engines are battling the fire with help from 10 dozers staffed with 30 personnel, eight hand crews with 160 personnel, 28 helicopters, six water tenders with 12 personnel, four fixed winged tankers and two VLATs, known as a 747 or very large air tanker.

An air tanker flies over downtown Carpinteria Monday on its way to the Thomas Fire in the nearby hills. Click to view larger
An air tanker flies over downtown Carpinteria Monday on its way to the Thomas Fire in the nearby hills.  (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

All Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District fire personnel have been on duty during the blaze, Navarro said.

“Today they were working hard,” Navarro said.

Navarro confirmed that an estimated 12 structures were “damaged or lost” in Gobernador Canyon area and one structure in Toro Canyon, but he did not have details and said damage assessments are not yet complete.

So far, the cost of fighting the fire is estimated at $38 million, and the Thomas Fire's acreage makes it the fifth-largest wildfire in modern California history, Navarro said.

“I will continue to do my part to keep the community safe and to keep the fire up in the hills and out,” Navarro said. 

The Carpinteria City Council voted unanimously, with Councilman Bradley Stein absent, to proclaim a local emergency due to the fire.

Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County on Dec. 5.

Click here for updated information about Thomas Fire evacuation zones. 

For Thomas Fire updates, visit Santa Barbara County's website and Ventura County's emergency page.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Fire crews from all over the western United States are in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties fighting the Thomas Fire. On Monday, a Santa Maria City Fire Department engine drives along Linden Avenue in Carpinteria. Click to view larger
Fire crews from all over the western United States are in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties fighting the Thomas Fire. On Monday, a Santa Maria City Fire Department engine drives along Linden Avenue in Carpinteria.  (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)
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