Thomas Fire Forces New Evacuations, Closure Of Highway 101
Santa Ana winds returned overnight to push the raging Thomas Fire closer to Ojai and Santa Barbara on two fronts, and forcing the closure of Highway 101 for miles.
The Thomas Fire has burned 90,000 acres with 5 percent containment on the third day of battling the blaze that’s now burning its way into the Los Padres National Forest.
In Ojai, residents were frantically calling county animal services for help evacuating their horses as the glow of flames approach from the west on one flank of the fire. Overnight, elderly patients were evacuated in wheelchairs from Ojai Valley Community Hospital in downtown Ojai.
A man was doing his best to spray down his house before he could evacuate.
“There’s fire all around the valley, so you gotta go,” he said.
In La Conchita, Highway 101 has been closed for 16 miles at State Route 126. State Route 150 was also closed between Carpinteria and Ojai, cutting off access between Ventura and Santa Barbara. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office offered no alternatives and said simply in its statement to the public to avoid the area.
In Carpinteria, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s officials say 300 people had to evacuate from the Rincon Point Area of Carpinteria, an area that was previously under voluntary evacuation.