cal coast news

A play based on the classic Jane Austen characters from "Pride and Prejudice" is the latest production by a Santa Barbara theater company.  "Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberly" takes some of the characters made famous in the original book, and puts them in an original story with a holiday theme.

Efforts to fight the massive 240 thousand acre plus Thomas brush fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties claimed the life of a firefighter, leaving the army of public safety works trying to deal with the blaze in shock.

Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlot confirmed that a member of the state firefighting agency died in action outside of Fillmore Thursday morning.

(Ventura County Fire Department photo)

The Thomas brush fire has now charred 242,000 acres of land in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and remains at 30% containment Thursday morning.

Firefighters say they are focused on three active parts of the fire, which include the mountains above Montecito and Santa Barbara, the Matilija wilderness area, and the Sespe wilderness area.

The fire has been an unforgettable, and at times terrifying experience for tens of thousands of people on the South Coast.

Many people have gone through incredible odysseys to escape the flames.

A key Santa Barbara County highway is going to be closed during the early morning hours on a regular basis to help move firefighting equipment to battle the massive Thomas brush fire.

Starting Thursday, Highway 154 will be shut down to the public from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. between Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley. Commuters will need to take Highway 101 if they are trying to travel between Southern and Northern Santa Barbara County.

Firefighters successfully stopped the huge Thomas brush fire as it tried to burn down from the Santa Ynez mountain range into Montecito.

The fire moved out of the mountains and downslope to the foothills above the community Tuesday afternoon and evening.  Firefighters used homes in the hills and some roads as key points to create fire lines. 

The massive Thomas brush fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties has burned across part of the Santa Ynez mountain range northeast of Montecito early Tuesday afternoon, and tried to back down some canyons above the famous mansion-filled community.

Smoke and flames from the fire in the Romero Canyon area are visible from parts of Montecito.  The northern part of the community was evacuated over the weekend, and an army of firefighters has been deployed to try to protect the mansions and ranches in the upscale community. 

There’s more shocking news about the destruction caused by the massive Thomas brush fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

The figure of homes destroyed was already stunning, at 640 homes lost. But, officials tonight updated the number to 868 homes lost.

We’re getting more details on the number of homes lost to the Thomas blaze, and the figure continues to climb.

The size, and rapid movement of the fire made it difficult for firefighters to get an accurate read at first of how many structures were destroyed or damaged.

The latest numbers show that 644 single family homes were destroyed, and 167 damaged. An additional 138 structures like carports and outbuilding also burned in the blaze. Many of the homes which were lost were in the City of Ventura, and most of the losses were in Ventura County.

As the massive Thomas brush fire has continued to grow in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, it’s impacted more and more lives.

KCLU’s Lance Orozco reports people at a Carpinteria shopping plaza were comparing notes with friends and neighbors about the crisis, and what they think will happen next.

The Albertson’s parking lot off of Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria was jammed with cars Sunday, even though some of the businesses like Starbucks were closed due to fire related power outages.

The huge Thomas brush fire burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties continues to mushroom in size, passing the 230,000 acre market and triggering yet more evacuation orders.

The fire burned tens of thousands of acres in less than 24 hours as it pushed west.  Firefighters say some of the fuel in the mountains above Carpinteria and Summerland hasn't burned for decades.  The fire dropped from 15% to 10% containment.

(Photo by John Palminteri)

The massive 155-thousand acre plus Thomas brush fire on the South Coast became visible in the foothills above Carpinteria early Sunday morning.

KCLU's John Palminteri reported you can see the flames above Highway 192 east of Toro Canyon Road, with some evacuations in the area.  Anticipating the western movement of the fire, commanders had beefed up staffing Saturday on the blaze's western flank to insure there would be crews on hand for protecting structures.

Despite the growth of the fire, the wind in the area is reported to be light.

(Photo courtesy Governor's Office)

The governor and some of the state’s top public safety officials toured some of the areas hardest hit by the Thomas brush fire.

More than 8000 firefighters are now battling Southern California’s wildfires, including more than 4000 on the Thomas Fire. State public safety officials say with reinforcements coming from around the Western U.S., they have what they need to stop the blazes.

The massive Thomas brush fire on the South Coast has crossed from Ventura County into Santa Barbara County in the mountains north of Carpinteria, but firefighters say they are continuing to make progress in the battle against it.

Residents of Carpinteria and Summerland may see some fire activity Saturday night through Sunday morning, and officials say the fire will seem closer than it actually is during the night.

There’s good news Saturday about efforts to contain the massive Thomas brush fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, with containment of the blaze rising from 10% to 15%.

The latest update on the acreage burned shows that it’s risen from 143,000 to 148,000 acres.

Firefighters say they made big progress Friday in efforts to control the massive Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, leading to some evacuation orders being lifted.

They are reporting no major problems on the perimeters of the fire. The blaze grew to 143,000 acres, and remains at 10% containment.

One of the big hot spots for Southern California’s 115,000 acre Thomas brush fire yesterday was a tiny beachfront community between Ventura and Santa Barbara which survived the flames not just once, but twice.

Harrison Stroud opened the front door to his beachfront home west of Ventura, and saw 40’ high flames across the highway from the house.

The amount of acreage burned by the destructive Thomas brush fire on the South Coast continues to mushroom, reaching 132,000 acres Friday morning.

Containment has risen from 5% to 10%.

The Thomas fire has grown to 96,000 acres, and extended from Ventura County in to Santa Barbara County.

15,000 structures are reported to be at risk from the monster blaze which began Monday night.  A flareup of the blaze late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning led to the shutdown of Highway 101 from Ventura to Carpinteria, but it was reopened in both directions by around 7 a.m.

The massive Thomas brush fire has continued to grow, with its expansion northwest closing Highways 101, and 150 early Thursday morning.

The main coastal route between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the 101, was closed at around 2 a.m. between Ventura and Carpinteria due to the flames. At the same time, the alternate route, Highway 150, has also been closed due to the fire. It's shut down from Ojai to Carpinteria.

Some 300 people were evacuated from the Rincon Point area outside of Carpinteria, as the fire moved into Santa Barbara County.

(Photo by Lance Orozco)

Firefighters say the massive Thomas brush fire in Ventura County took another big jump in size on Wednesday, and has the potential to grow rapidly with the potential for a dangerous new round of Santa Ana winds in the weather forecast.

The fire went from 65,000 to 90,000 acres burned, with containment at 5%

The massive Thomas Fire has now charred 65,000 acres of land in Ventura County, and is still completely out of control.

The blaze covers 100 square miles of land.  150 structures have been reported destroyed by the fire, but that figure hasn't been updated since Tuesday morning, and could change.  12,000 structures are considered to be at risk, and close to 30,000 people are facing evacuation orders.

The Thomas fire took yet another unusual twist, when it surfaced in the scenic mountains between Ventura and Carpinteria, created a miles long sea of flame.

The fire had moved west from Ventura through some inland mountains, but early Tuesday evening the flames moved south, even jumping Highway 101 and almost making it to the ocean.  The Coast Highway gave firefighters a wide break to protect homes on the ocean side of the freeway from the flames.

A brush fire in Los Angeles County threatening to move into Ventura County has so far failed to live up to the danger.

The Rye Canyon Fire erupted in Santa Clarita Tuesday morning, shutting down both directions of the 5 Freeway in the area. The freeway reopened Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters battling the massive 50,000 acre Thomas brush fire in Ventura County say they may be getting a slight break with the weather overnight Tuesday, with much milder Santa Ana wind conditions than the county had Monday night.

The fire has destroyed at least 150 structures, but the number could be higher because crews haven't had a chance to survey the buildings which were lost.  The 150 number was issued Tuesday morning, but multiple homes were seen burning in the Ventura area throughout the day.

LA County Fire Air Ops

There’s a new threat posed by another one of the brush fires in the region, with concern it may move from Los Angeles to Ventura County.

A fast-moving brush blaze called the Rye Canyon Fire erupted in Santa Clarita Tuesday morning, shutting down both directions of the 5 Freeway in the area.

It's estimated to be around 5000 acres.

The fire was burning north of Newhall Ranch Road and east of the 5 Freeway. Both directions of the 5 Freeway were shut down at Highway 126 due to the expanding blaze. The freeway reopened Tuesday afternoon.

A fast moving brush fire in Ventura County now cover more than 26,000 acres of land, and has destroyed multiple homes.

Strong Santa Ana winds pushed the Thomas Fire along a several mile stretch of mountains from Santa Paula to Ventura.  The blaze forced thousands of evacuations, including more than 400 homes in Santa Paula.

(VCFD Photo)

Update: As of 9:15 a.m., the fire has expanded to 45,500 with 1000 firefighters involved in the fighting effort.

Update: As of 2:20 a.m., 7,786 homes are under evacuation orders, and the fire is at 26,000 acres.

A massive wildfire continues its explosive growth in Ventura County, burning on multiple fronts in the county.

A brush fire that's burned more than 5000 acres of brush in Ventura County has forced hundreds of evacuations, and closed Highway 150.

The Thomas Fire is burning between Santa Paula and Ojai, in the Wheeler Canyon area. The fire was reported shortly before 7 Monday night. It forced the evacuation of more than 400 students and staff members at Thomas Aquinas College. More than 400 homes on the north side of Santa Paula in the Monte Vista area are also facing evacuation orders.