#ThomasFire Becomes Biggest Fire in California History | 18

INCIDENT SUMMARY | A 500-acre original brush fire broke out near the Thomas Aquinas College in Ojai (Ventura County) California on Monday, December 4, 2017.  The fire ignited from an unknown cause which is still under investigation, would become the State’s biggest wildfires in all of their recorded Fire history.

Sixty-three percent of the fire is burning on federal lands, which is about 140,862 acres on National Forest System lands.  It had crossed over into the Los Padres National Forest and is now located in both the Santa Barbara and Ojai Ranger Districts.

Thomas Fire, Branch II FIring Operation

CURRENT FIRE STATUS | 273,400 acres.  65% containment status.

CAL FIRE states:  Crews are mopping the Camino Cielo to strengthen the fireline there. To the north of Camino Cielo, crews will patrol the fire line in the Zaca fire area, and monitor fire spread where line construction has not been possible due to very rough terrain. The firing operation from the past few days will be mopped up and patrolled.

North of the community of Fillmore fire behavior has been was minimal where it has backed into the Sespe drainage. Fire spread east of Rose Valley to Bear Haven will be monitored by air. Fire spread has been minimal in this area for the last week, with IR information corroborating that intel. To the north, the fire is slowly moving through the Sespe Wilderness and Bear Haven area, where it is being closely monitored. Carpinteria, the Ojai Valley area, and Highway 126 between Highway 150 and Fillmore are all in patrol status and will transition to unstaffed.

Thomas Fire burn operation December 19, 2017

RESOURCES | Fire personnel has been reduced to the highest peak of 8,094 fire personnel down to its current number of 2,841.  Many strike teams have been released from the fire and returned to their home bases.   The highest number of 876 engines, 161 crews, 35 helicopters, 72 dozers, 58 water tenders have been reduced to  171 fire engines, 63 fire crews, 26 helicopters, 21 dozers and 38 water tenders.

Thomas Fire burn operation December 19, 2017

The CAL FIRE IMT – 4 is to transition to a CAL IMT Team 3 as of 1800 hours this evening.

COMMAND STAFF | Incident Command is in Unified Command consisting of the Los Padres NF, CAL FIRE, VC_FD PIO, USFS and Ventura County Sheriffs Office.

INCIDENT COOPERATORS | Agencies and organizations that were an integral par of this incident were the Montecito Fire Protection District, Red Cross, CAL FIRE, CA DOC, CA DOT, CHP, CA OES, PGE, SBCoFD, SBCSO, Santa Paula FD, Santa Paula SO, So Cal Edison, So CA Gas Co, USDA Forest Service, Los Padres NF, Ventura City PD, VCFD and VCSO.  This also includes the hundreds of firefighters that responded 11 U.S. States with fire apparatus and strike teams, additional resources.

DAMAGE ASSESSMENT |  1,063 structures destroyed.  280 structures damaged.

FIRE WEATHER  | CAL FIRE: “The dry cold front moved through the area on December 20 and was replaced by weak offshore flow. Winds gusting to 50 miles per hour tested firelines in the south, with no notable fire activity in the Montecito area, Camino Cielo or Fillmore. A persistent offshore flow will bring low relative humidity and above average temperatures to the fire area for several days. Fire behavior will increase over the next few days with the lowering relative humidity.

Thomas Fire 12/16/2017

The fire area has not received any rainfall over .10 inches since February. Live fuel conditions are far below critical levels. ERCs have dipped with the recent humidity recovery but will begin to increase with continued offshore flow.”

FIRE HISTORY | The Thomas Fire  is now considered the largest wildfire killing one firefighters and destroying 1,063 structures and damaging 280 .  This wildfire has now bypassed previously number one ranked Cedar Fire which burned 273, 246 acres in October of 2003.  This fire also destroyed 2,820 structures and killed 15 people.   The now third ranked biggest wildfire, Rush Fire ignited in August 2012,  destroying 271,911 acres. It did not cause any loss of structures or deaths, however it did burn 43,666 acres in nearby State of Nevada.

Fire Images | Courtesy of Inciweb/USFS

Sources | Ventura Co FD PIO, Inciweb, CAL Fire, USFS

(c) 2017 NW Fire Blog – Updated 12/22/2017  @ 2359 PST