As evacuation orders continue to expand amid the massive Thomas Fire burning in Ventura County, residents trying to flee the danger areas had to work around closures on the 101 Freeway and Highway 150 Thursday morning.
The 101 Freeway was temporarily shut down to all northbound traffic at State Route 126, and to all southbound traffic beginning at Bates Road, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office stated in a news release early Thursday morning.
The Thomas Fire is currently at 96,000 Acres with 5% Containment
State Route 150 was also closed between Carpentaria and Ojai, where mandatory evacuation orders were issued for some areas Wednesday night.
The 101 was later reopened in both directions with escorts being provided, the California Highway Patrol tweeted just after 7 a.m.
The fire has burned 96,000 acres – or about 150 square miles – and is just 5 percent contained, fire officials tweeted Thursday morning.
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The fire spread overnight due to strong Santa Ana winds and grew significantly north of the City of Ojai, according to CalFire.
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The fire was also moving north toward the Santa Barbara County line and Lake Casitas, as well as toward the Los Padres National Forest and Sespe Wilderness, CalFire stated.
Firefighters in La Conchita managed to save several homes from a flare up Thursday morning, Ventura County Fire Department Public Information Officer Rich Macklin said.
“We saved about six homes,” said Macklin, who described the firefight in that area as a success. Only one abandoned structure was lost.
The La Conchita homes were threatened hours after the main burn rolled through the area about 1 a.m., Macklin said.
Authorities made a grim discovery in Wheeler Canyon when they found the body of a woman in a wrecked car, Macklin said.
It was unclear if the crash was related to the fire.
About 2,500 firefighters were battling the blaze by ground and air, according to CalFire.
At least 150 structures have been destroyed, however that number is expected to rise when officials get a chance to resurvey the damage. At least 12,000 structures remain threatened.
Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for the following areas Thursday:
City of Santa Paula – Boundary of Say Road north to Thomas Aquinas, Dickenson Ranch Road east to Santa Paula Creek
Santa Paula unincorporated area, east of Santa Paula Creek, north of highway 126, west of Hall Road and south of the Ventura Regional Sanitation
City of Santa Paula – Boundary of Monte Vista Street north to city limits, Foothill Road from Steckel to Peck Road to north of city limits
Santa Paula unincorporated area towards Ventura- North of Foothill Road from Peck Road to Wells Road including: Wheeler Canyon, Aliso Canyon and Rancho Vista
City of Ventura – Teloma east to Brent Street, Telegraph Road north to north of Foothill Road
City of Ventura – Victoria Road east to Hill Road, Telegraph Road north to Foothill Road
City of Ventura – North Ashwood Avenue east to Hill Road, Telegraph Road north to Foothill Road
City of Ventura – North of Foothill Road from Wells Road to Poli Street
City of Ventura – North of Main Street from Seward Avenue to Hwy 33 (includes entire Ventura Avenue area)
Oak View – Boundary of Hwy 33, Creek Road and Hermosa Road
Entire Community of Casitas Springs – Evacuate to Ventura County Fairgrounds – 10 West Harbor Blvd., Ventura
East Ojai Valley – Carne Road east to McAndrew Road, Reeves Road north to Thacher Road
Ojai – North of Grand Ave east of Mercer Avenue west of Carne Road and South of the Gridley Trail
Upper Ojai Valley – Hwy 150 from Dennison Grade east to Osborne Road and all residences north
Upper Ojai Valley (West) – Hwy 33 – Matilija Canyon
Ventura County North Coast Area – Boundary of Hwy 33 on the north to Casitas Vista Road, northwest to Hwy 150, Hwy 150 (Casitas Pass Road) west to US 101 and south on US 101 (including Pacific Coast Highway) to Emma Wood State Beach
There are no evacuations in Santa Barbara County at this time.
Evacuation information can also be found at readyventuracounty.org.
The following communities are under voluntary evacuations Thursday:
All residents of the Ojai Valley not currently covered under the current mandatory evacuation
Residents in the City of Ventura, south of Loma Vista, east of Day Road, West of Victoria Avenue and north of Telegraph Road
Residents in the City of Ventura, east of Victoria north of Loma Vista South of Foothill west of Wells Road
Unincorporated Ventura County Area- Residents and day visitors of Rose Valley
The following evacuation shelters are opened to residents:
City of Ventura – Ventura County Fairgrounds at Miners Building (Red Cross – Includes an Animal Shelter for all types of animals) – 10 W Harbor Blvd, Ventura, CA
City of Ojai – Nordhoff High School (Red Cross) – 1401 Maricopa Hwy, Ojai, CA
City of Fillmore – Veteran’s Memorial Building (Red Cross) – 511 2nd Street, Fillmore, CA
City of Oxnard – Oxnard College Gymnasium (Red Cross) – 4000 S. Rose Ave, Oxnard, CA Open 12/5/17, 0700
City of Santa Paula – Santa Paula Community Center (City of SP run shelter) 530 W Main St, Santa Paula, CA – Open 0800
UC Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara Multi Activity Center – Includes an Animal Shelter for small animals – preferably in crates, 516
Ocean Road, Santa Barbara, CA
The following schools and districts will be closed through Friday:
ACE Charter High SchoolBriggs Elementary School DistrictFillmore Unified School District (will be closed 12/7)
Hueneme Elementary School District
Mesa Union Elementary School District
Mupu Elementary School District
Ocean View Elementary School District
Ojai Unified School District
Our Lady of Assumption Catholic School
Oxnard Elementary School District
Oxnard Union High School District
Pleasant Valley School District
Rio Elementary School District
Santa Clara Elementary School District
Santa Paula Unified School District
Somis Union School District
Saint Anthony’s School
Saint Bonaventure High School
Thomas Aquinas College
University Preparation Charter School
VCOE Career Education Center (Camarillo and Moorpark)
VCOE-operated school sites and classrooms
Ventura Charter School
Ventura Unified School District
Villanova Prep School (Closed 12/7/17)
Vista Real Charter High School District
The following road closures are in place Thursday:
Hard Closure – East bound SR-150, from Reeves Rd in Ojai to Stonegate Rd in Santa Paula
Hard Closure – SR 150 between Highway 33 and the 101
Hard Closure – SR 33 from Maricopa Highway and Ojai Avenue (the “Y”) to Matilija Canyon
Hard Closure – Foothill Road at Olive / Cummings / Briggs / Peck / Wells / Highpoint / LaFonda / Skyline / Colina Vista
Nye Road loop east of Highway 33 (Santa Paula/Ventura area)
Powerful winds all week long have made the situation all the more difficult for firefighters.
Red flag warnings are in effect for the Ventura County area until 8 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
The Thomas Fire began Monday evening north of Santa Paula, according to Cal Fire.
No official cause of the fire has been determined.
150-Square-Mile Thomas Fire in Ventura County Fanned by Santa Ana Winds