Thomas Fire Burns Ventura Apartment Complex To Ground

Thomas Fire Burns Ventura Apartment Complex To Ground

According to Cal Fire and the Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index, Ventura and LA counties would be under a red "high" threat level Thursday (downgraded from an expected purple "extreme" threat level).

Santa Barbara City College closed Tuesday but held classes again Wednesday.

The 40 minute roundtrip for the air tankers from the fire zone in Ventura County to the Santa Maria Airport to refuel and reload retardant means a significant shift in the aerial attack on the Thomas Fire.

The Thomas Fire has expanded to 65,000 acres and still has zero percent containment as the blaze continues to rage Wednesday. However, officials ask drivers to avoid Highway 101 if possible. "The evacuations included the area east of Highway 150 from Rincon Hill Road south to the 101 and included Bates Road and the area known as Rincon Point at the south end of Bates Road", the statement said.

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"Particulate matter from a forest fire, is smaller in size that our normal environmental pollutants, causing these particles to get deeper into the lungs", said Gilbert J. Kuhn Jr., M.D.at Providence Saint John's Health Center.

"Yesterday they had a hard time getting into the fire because of turbulence", said Jim Kunkle with the Central Coast Jet Center at the Santa Maria Airport, "today they have an opportunity to work the fire, we had two MD-80 7's come in, the DC-10, and I believe you saw an S-2 from CalFire come through".

In Ojai, residents were frantically calling county animal services for help evacuating their horses as the glow of flames approach from the west on one flank of the fire.

Evacuations have been ordered for areas near Carpinteria and Ojai.

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