Carpinteria firefighters watch the Thomas Fire burn along Highway 101 in the Faria Beach area on December 6, 2017.
Paul Wellman

As the Thomas Fire creeps west from Ventura and blankets Santa Barbara in a thick cloud of smoke, Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Montecito, Goleta, and Cold Spring school districts all announced Thursday morning that classes have been canceled for the day. Santa Barbara City College also closed its campus. UCSB remains open.

“Our thoughts are with all those affected by the fire and we send our deepest thanks and best wishes to our first responders,” said SBCC spokesperson Luz Reyes-Martin. [UPDATE: Martin said all SBCC campuses — which includes the Main, Wake, and Schott campuses, Cosmetology Building, and all off-site programs — will remain closed through Saturday. “Students should NOT come to campus,” she said in an email. “All Staff and Faculty should NOT come to campus.”]

A number of government-sponsored events have been canceled as well, including the Goleta Beach Park Bridge ribbon-cutting ceremony. Santa Barbara County’s public engagement specialist Lael Wageneck reminded residents that official county information on the Thomas Fire can be found at

[Update 12 p.m.]: UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang canceled classes for the remainder of Thursday. “Given the uncertainties the fire presents, this difficult decision will allow us to assess logistical issues in advance of finals week, which is scheduled to begin Saturday,” he wrote in a campus-wide email.

[Update 11:30 a.m.]: UCSB students called for university administrators to cancel classes and make it optional for employees to work. Natalie Jordan, a boardmember of the I.V. Community Services District, launched a petition that highlights the poor air-quality conditions in the area.

UCSB administrators canceled the women’s basketball game against Loyola Marymount due to extremely poor air quality. “UCSB will return to action after final examinations week when it travels to Portland to play Oregon State on Saturday, December 16,” the university’s athletics website states.

Cal Fire provided an update Thursday morning on the four large wildfires burning throughout Southern California. “Although strong winds are hampering efforts to contain these fires that have burned nearly 116,000 acres, firefighters have been successful in gaining some containment on these blazes,” said spokesperson Lynne Tolmachoff.

“Extreme Santa Ana wind conditions are forecast today with sustained winds of 20 to 40 mph and gusts potentially exceeding 80 mph in some areas. Teen and single digit daytime humidity persists, with very little overnight recovery. Windy and dry conditions will continue in Southern California into next week.”

“With the extreme fire conditions, don’t wait to evacuate!” Tolmachoff advised. “If you see fire approaching, don’t wait to be told to leave.”

Thomas Fire, Ventura County

Santa Paula

• 96,000 acres, 5 percent contained

• Evacuations and road closures in effect

• 15,000 homes threatened, over 88,000 residents evacuated

Creek Fire, Los Angeles County

Kagel Canyon

• 12,605 acres, 10 percent contained

• Evacuations and road closures in effect

• Over 99,000 residents evacuated

Rye Fire, Los Angeles County

Santa Clarita

• 7,000 acres, 15 percent contained

• Evacuations and road closures in effect

• 5,420 homes threatened, 2,000 residents evacuated

Skirball Fire, Los Angeles County

North of Brentwood

• 475 acres, 5 percent contained

• Evacuations and road closures in effect


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