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Local News

Some Forest Areas Remain Closed as Thomas Fire Containment Hits 91%

Fire officials report very little fire activity for the 281,893-acre blaze

The Thomas Fire progression map released Wednesday morning shows recent burn areas in the back country. Click to view larger
The Thomas Fire progression map released Wednesday morning shows recent burn areas in the back country.  (Courtesy photo)

Thomas Fire officials report 91-percent containment and very little fire activity for the blaze, which has burned its way across two counties and into the history books as the largest recorded California wildfire.

Most of the active fire areas are in the backcountry, and large portions of Los Padres National Forest are still closed to visitors, including in the Dick Smith Wilderness, Matilija Wilderness, Sespe Wilderness and Chumash Wilderness.

The fire, reported at 281,893 acres Wednesday evening, is not expected to make any forward progress or move outside containment lines, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

More than 8,500 personnel were assigned to the fire at the height of the response, making it the largest firefighting force ever assembled in California, and that number had dropped to 655 people as of Wednesday evening.

Air quality for the region has finally cleared, with the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District monitoring stations reporting “good” conditions at all stations.

The Public Health Department reminds residents to keep their N-95 masks handy for clean-up and afterwards, since winds can kick up the ash on the ground. 

The Thomas Fire destroyed 1,063 structures and damaged 280 more, most of those in Ventura County, according to fire officials.

The blaze broke out Dec. 4 near Santa Paula, and the cause is still under investigation.

Resources for recovery assistance are available on the Santa Barbara County Thomas Fire website and Ventura County website, as well as through the California Office of Emergency Services

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli 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.

Los Padres National Forest areas remain closed as the Thomas Fire burns in the back country. Click to view larger
Los Padres National Forest areas remain closed as the Thomas Fire burns in the back country.  (Courtesy photo)

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