Santa Barbara County lifted all evacuation orders and warnings Thursday morning for areas impacted by the Thomas Fire.
Santa Barbara County Animal Services staff asked people to pick up their evacuated animals where they were dropped off, as soon as possible.
Owners can call for more information and to make arrangements for pickup: 805.388.4341 for Ventura County and 805.681.4332 for Santa Barbara County.
Since the 272,200-acre blaze broke out near Santa Paula Dec. 4, mandatory evacuation orders have been issued throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, as the fire moved community to community.
Fire officials released a slew of additional evacuation orders and warnings for Santa Barbara County South Coast areas on Saturday when winds pushed the blaze closer to populated areas and it burned about 11,000 acres in 12 hours.
The enormous fire has been less visible since then, and fire officials felt good about their progress.
However, they were waiting on Wednesday night’s “wind event” to see if the fire would make another significant run.
As of 7 a.m. Thursday, CalFire officials reported very little fire activity overnight, and two hours later, Santa Barbara County announced an end to the evacuation orders and warnings.
Before the orders were lifted, there were about 16,000 people under mandatory evacuation orders, some who have been out of their homes for nearly two weeks, and another 12,000 people living in areas under evacuation warnings.
The county released the following advice for people returning to their property in previously evacuated areas:
» For those who have animals in shelter care, please pick up your animals before returning home.
» When entering your property check for trees, brush, rocks and debris. Trees may be weakened or destroyed as result of the fire.
» Be on the lookout for utility poles which may be weakened.
» As you walk around your property, check for fire or fire damage. Hot embers may be seen in rain gutters, on the roof and under overhangs, under decks and in crawl spaces.
» You may see marking tapes or placards on your mailboxes or home. These were used by first responders and can now be discarded.
» If your services are off, check for burned service equipment and facilities. If there is visible damage, do not attempt to repair or turn on these services. Call your local utility companies.
» Once you have secured the outside of your home, check inside for fire or fire damage. Check for embers in the attic which may have entered through vents. If electricity is off, turn off all appliances before turning it on. Check if the phone is working. Check if security systems and alarms are working.
Call 9-1-1 to report fire or other emergencies, and contact local utility companies to report damaged utilities, county officials said.
Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.