Ventura/S. Barbara Counties, CA – As the Thomas Fire enters its 3rd week, with 50% containment, the wildfire has scorched 271,000 acres across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, destroyed more than 1,000 structures and damaged 250 more. An additional 18,000 structures remain threatened and thousands of residents still can’t go home.
According to a report in the LA Times, some 8,450 firefighters are on the lines, the largest mobilization of fire crews to fight any wildfire in California history. Forecasters said that weaker winds, cooler temperatures and higher humidity early this week should help, giving crews a brief opportunity to consolidate hard-fought gains.
Areas of concern for firefighters include the coastal communities of Santa Barbara, Summerland and Montecito, as well as the Matilija Wilderness and Rose Valley, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. On the eastern side of the fire, the threat continues for Fillmore in Ventura County.
Anxiety remains high among evacuated residents, many of whom have been displaced for more than a week. Some have no idea if their homes are still standing.
Southern California set a record this month for the longest sustained period of fire weather warnings — 12 consecutive days — due to the winds, which have made it impossible for firefighters to get a handle on what is now California’s second-largest fire on record.