Thomas Fire Creeps Up the Coast, Growing to Over 65,000 Acres

Fierce Santa Ana Winds Push the Blaze Westward Toward Solimar Beach and Mussel Shoals

The Thomas Fire entered canyons near Mussel Shoals on Tuesday evening.
Photo Credit: Marco Farrell
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Up-to-date information on evacuations, shelter locations, school closures, and road closures can be found at the bottom of this article.

[Update: Wednesday, 10:10 a.m.] The Carpinteria Unified School District has closed all CUSD schools and district offices. Air-quality issues persist across South County, and mandatory evacuations remain in effect as far west as Rincon and along Highway 150. According to Cal Fire, "The fire continues to burn actively with extreme rates of spread and long range spotting when pushed by winds. The fire is established on the north and east side of Hwy 150 and is also burning on the west side of Hwy 30."

[Update: Wednesday, 7:24 a.m.] Cal Fire reports that the fire has grown 10,000 acres in less than 12 hours. The Thomas Fire has now burned 65,000 acres. Total personnel assigned to the fire swelled overnight from about 1,100 to now nearly 1,800. Some 12,000 structures are threatened, and 50,000 people are displaced. Additional mandatory evacuations are in place, and include the communities of Solimar, Mussel Shoals, and parts of Rincon.

[Update: Tuesday, 11:53 p.m.] Multiple media outlets are reporting that the Thomas Fire has jumped Highway 101 near Solimar Beach and is currently threatening homes there.

[Original story: Tuesday, 9:51 p.m.] Much of the stretch of coastal foothills between the City of Ventura and Mussel Shoals burned almost exactly two years ago during the Solimar Fire, but the nearly two-year-old vegetation and series of oil drilling pads in the hills above Highway 101 haven't stopped the westward growth of the Thomas Fire.

After burning 50,000 acres since beginning on Monday evening, the westernmost flanks of the blaze have breached Madranjo Canyon, just southeast of Mussel Shoals. A Ventura County Fire engine was dispatched from Ventura County Station 25, which happens to be at the mouth of that canyon. According to Captain Dave Zaniboni, a public information officer assigned to the fire, the southwestern flanks of the fire — which include the area burning near Mussel Shoals — are currently the hottest and most active.

The canyons near Mussel Shoals where the fire has arrived mark the halfway point between downtown Ventura and Carpinteria. Now nearly eight miles northeast of downtown Ventura, not 24 hours after burning into the northern edges of the city, the Thomas Fire continues to make its way westward along the coastal range.

"Control objectives" that were established this afternoon by Cal Fire Incident Management Team 4, which is now overseeing fire suppression efforts, clarified intentions to "keep the fire east of Hwy 101" but didn't establish a containment objective for the western flank of the fire. While winds have died down for the night, high winds are forecast again Wednesday and through the week, when warmer temperatures are set to arrive, further complicating firefighting efforts.

Meanwhile, to the east, mandatory evacuation orders (detailed below) remain in place, with some 29,000 people displaced as of Tuesday evening. Voluntary evacuations were issued for much of the remaining Ojai area early on Tuesday afternoon. Hundreds of evacuees gathered at Nordhoff High School, which has since been established as an evacuation shelter. Nordhoff is one of five shelter locations in Ventura County, while one has opened in Santa Barbara County at UCSB's Multi-Activity Court, according to Santa Barbara County spokesperson Gina DePinto.

After the Thomas Fire burned into the northern edges of downtown Ventura last night, many active areas remain as crews continue to mop up as they are able. To date, one firefighter has been injured.

Evacuations

Mandatory Evacuations (as of 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday):

Voluntary Evacuations (as of 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday):

In Carpinteria, the voluntary evacuation warning is for the following areas:

Evacuation Shelters

Road Closures

Road closures continue to impact Highway 150 and Highway 33, as well as many other city and county roads.

Per California Highway Patrol (as of 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday):

School Closures

As of 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday:

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