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Water dropping helicopters fight the Thomas Fire in Toro Canyon Tuesday. (Dec. 12, 2017)

Paul Wellman

Water dropping helicopters fight the Thomas Fire in Toro Canyon Tuesday. (Dec. 12, 2017)


Helicopters Back Dropping Water on Thomas Fire Leftover


One of the “smokes” left behind by the Thomas Fire in the Santa Barbara front country flamed up early this morning, not far from the KTYD radio tower off Gibraltar Road, said Jim Mackensen, a U.S. Forest Service firefighter out of Mendocino National Forest speaking for fire command. The plume of smoke came from a deep drainage off Gibraltar, well inside the fire containment line, reassured Captain Dave Zaniboni with Santa Barbara County Fire. A county Air Support helicopter was called out this morning to drop water, with more air support coming from the Thomas Fire crews.

The general fire threat is minimal as the winds are calm, Mackensen indicated. “We’re going to see these smokes popping up until we get some rain,” he said, “with these very warm temperatures and low humidities.” Newly added to the fire command arsenal has been a daytime infrared scanner. Previously, hotspot flights had been confined to night hours.

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