Page 1 of 1

Thomas Fire

PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:45 am
by sd
Useful Links posted by:

Rob Sporrer:
Rob Sporrer updated the status of the TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) on Wednesday, 12/27 to indicate: “Clontzy reports TFR reduction, and front range of SB flying is open again… Game on!”
As of 12/28, the TFR Visualizer link indicates that the TFR no longer covers the front range west of about the Power Line Crossing behind Carpinteriia. The front range east of the Power Lines is still within the TFR.

Chris Ballmer:
This map is interactive. You can display an underlying aerial view by clicking on the layers icon in the tool bar (upper left, 2nd icon down) and then selecting Arial.
The legend is useful but a little hard to find: The data is based on Satellite observations:
Red Dots indicate new fire as first observed in the past 12 hours.
Orange Dots indicate slightly older fire first observed in the Past 12-24 hours.
Yellow Dots indicate older fire that was initially observed 24 to 48 hours ago.
You can also zoom in and out with your mouse wheel and change the center. The URL in the address bar will update dynamically so you can copy, past, or save a view you like.
You can also view a bunch of other useful info by experimenting with the info icon (top icon in the tool bar) and then selecting the Thomas Fire > > ect.

Rob Sporrer posted a link to another map at:
I haven’t reviewed the navigation of this map as much as the other map above, but it does have a legend that is easy to find.

Mark Fisher posted a SB county link that explains stuff like road closures, evacuation zones, and shelters at:

Thursday Afternoon Perception, 12/7
Copied from the SBSA Telegram/Chat Box
Posted to the SBSA Chat Box on Thursday 12/7 at 1:38 PM by SD

The Thomas Fire has essentially burned to its natural limits. Didn’t see any attempt to “contain” the fire, it simply burned out it’s fuel source. Still blowing east in Ventura as far as Pitas Point, but light from the SW in La Conchita. I think most of the fire-fighting effort was directed toward structure defense.

Short video of the Thomas Fire scraps along the 101 at the gas plant just west of La Conchita around noonish (Thursday) posted at

I suspect the fire will continue to smolder for a week or 2, and there will likely be a few flare-ups where there is remaining fuel, and there is a possibility it could jump Hwy 150 and get into the “mountains” if the wind turns sharply on-shore, but for now it looks spent.

Re: Thomas Fire / Divide Peak / Fire Map

PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:57 am
by bb_secretary
Posted to the SBSA Chat Box on Thursday 12/7 by Chris Ballmer
at 1:43 PM
What about the fire creeping west over divide peak etc?
And also at 1:51 PM

Re: Thomas Fire / Map

PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:57 am
by bb_secretary
Posted to the SBSA Chat Box on Thursday 12/7 at 1:43 PM by SA
You may need to view above link with a computer

Re: Thomas Fire Perception Adjustment

PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:02 am
by sd
Posted to the SBSA Chat Box on Thursday 12/7 at 2:57 PM by SD

SA and Chris, thanks for your guidance. Based on the map Chris posted, it appears that although the coastal portion of the fire is likely “spent”, the fire did get into the mountains behind Ojai and is moving west with the upper level east wind.

The wind for the next couple of days in SB is from the east up high (above 3 to 4K) and from the west down lower, then by Sunday, it is from the east at all altitudes, so… I suspect it will continue westbound for the next week or so? The NAM forecast sounding is predicting continued dry conditions through Sunday (the limit of the forecast), and I’ve heard other rumors suggesting there is no end in sight to our dry weather?

Re: Thomas Fire / County Updates Link

PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:06 am
by bb_secretary
Posted to the SBSA Chat Box on Thursday 12/7 at 2:57 PM by Mark Fisher

Re: Thomas Fire / Carp Town Meeting Notes

PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:18 am
by sd
I went to Carp Town meeting last night (Thursday 12/7) for a briefing on the Thomas Fire. Below is my current perception as of Friday morning 12/8

From last night’s meeting, my perception is that the strategic objective is to keep the fire out of Santa Barbara county. They plan to use the Superior Fuel Break (below White Ledge Peak), and the fire break along the Watershed Divide to limit its westward progress. They are also working to contain the southern finger to the south side (ocean side) of Hwy 150. Based on the fire map, it appears they are succeeding for now.

The fire may die down, but unless we get a moisture change it won’t likely be “extinguished” for some time, so it could flare up again. The air quality in Carpinteria is much better today (Friday) than it was yesterday.

The fire also seems to be creeping north into the Matilija Wilderness, but hopefully the western progress will be limited by the fuel break along the crest of the Watershed Divide. I haven’t invested much effort to evaluate the eastern and northern flanks, but the NE flank appears to be crawling upwind into rugged wilderness terrain behind the Topa Bluffs, and the eastern front is slowly clawing upwind along both sides of Santa Paula Peak/Ridge.

I’ll also edit my initial post from yesterday morning to put useful links that others have posted at the top so they are easier to find compared to buried in the topic.

Saturday Night Thomas Fire Update

PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:40 pm
by sd
1:30 am Sunday Morning Observation

It appears that the fire may have leaped past the intended western front firebreak containment? The fire map is showing new fire about even with Jameson Lake up near the ridge line on the north side of the ridge, and I can see towering flames from my house behind the Gobernador Canyon. Can’t tell how far behind, perhaps over Chismahoo, but the flames are pretty tall, maybe a couple hundred feet? The wind is currently a mixed bag with La Cumbre Peak reporting north at 10 to 12, Montecito is light from the east, but gusting over 20, and moderate Santa Anna down the Santa Clara River.

Just lost power at my house, so writing in the dark. The lasted update on the official fire information page is 7 PM Saturday night, so I guess we are somewhat in the dark for now, except for the orange glow out the window?
10 PM Saturday Night Review
Windy Sunday?

The wind at ridgeline behind Carpinteria (the current western edge?) is forecast to increase into the upper teens later tonight (Saturday Night) and continue for about a day before dropping back into the single digit range after dawn on Monday. The NAM skew-t forecast soundings are calling for wind from the east at all altitudes, increasing with altitude up to about 9K. Lighter down low but still 10 knots at 1500 feet, then 20 knots at ridgeline by 4 am Sunday morning.

I checked the fire maps this morning and they seemed to indicate the fire’s westbound progress was mostly contained behind firebreaks, with perhaps the exception of a stretch east of the Superior Fuel Break. (which is just uphill from the entrance to Lake Casitas). I was a bit concerned that the fire would bypass the Superior Fuel Break and proceed westbound south of it, but Saturday was forecasted to be a light wind day, so I figured it wouldn’t go far.

At the town meeting in Carpinteria on Thursday night, we were told the intent was to use the firebreak along Chismahoo Road and the Watershed Divide to prevent the fire from entering Santa Barbara county. The western front of the fire now appears to at the County line.

The air quality started out OKish in Carpinteria on Saturday Morning, but deteriorated later in the day, I heard rumors they were doing a lot of back burning to strengthen the firebreaks, so that would account for the continued rain of ash.

A little after sunset, I could see lights in the mountains that I think might have been bulldozers? About 9 PM I checked the fire map and was alarmed to see new fire about a mile west of the firebreak along Chismahoo Road. I then went outside to check visually. I could see the fire from my front yard. I then drove to the high school and quizzed the firefighters on standby there, and also some crews at the intersection of Casitas Pass Road and 192. No one could clarify if the fire we were seeing from town is a controlled burn or the fire progressing westbound? I was told the next briefing is scheduled for 7am Sunday morning at the Ventura Fairgrounds.

I went out to check again at 10 PM and could no longer see any fire, so hopefully, what I saw was the dying embers of a controlled burn to strengthen the fire line at Chismahoo? Other factors that seems to suggest the apparent “advance” is simply a controlled burn is that there have been additional warnings, and the fire map shows some of the western edge fire indicators to be aging... and the 6 pm report in the fire info link provide by Mark Fisher seems to indicate the fire we see is intentional.

If the fire does jump the firebreak, it will make a nasty downwind run westbound on the front side of the range behind Carpinteria later tonight and Sunday…

I guess we will know by daybreak?

Monday Morning

PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:39 am
by sd
Monday Morning Thomas Fire Perception from Carpinteria

Staring out as a smoky day this morning (Monday 12/11) with heavy smoke smell similar to last Wednesday and Thursday when Rincon Mountain was burning and dumping on Carpinteria. Yesterday (Sunday) started out pretty clear at the beach with very light onshore flow, but by the afternoon it started to get progressively smokier.

The east wind yesterday (Sunday) was much less than forecasted. It did build overnight Saturday night into Sunday morning, which permitted the fire to jump the firebreaks and get into SB county behind Carpinteria, but the wind died down during the day based on numerous indicators, like the smoke plumes. The ocean was mostly calm on Sunday.

Not much wind activity down low this morning, and the forecast is calling for mostly light winds at the fire elevations for the next day or two. There is still mild Santa Anna offshore flow down the Santa Clara River, but not much wind locally on the south coast. The forecast is calling for more of a north component at Ridgeline today. Montecito is reporting the most local wind this morning, gusting into the high teens from the NE, but that station (at 1500 feet) often seems to report high? La Cumbre is light to mild from the north.

The big push was Saturday night into Sunday morning. The hills behind Carpinteria did seem to flare up some early last night, but by this morning the burn intensity seems diminished.

The fire behind Carpinteria continues to claw slowly downslope and has reached the bottom of the foothills in a few places. It is only a little way down from the top of Snowball. The area behind Snowball looks pretty burned out. Further west the fire seems to be behind Polo Ridge. I drove around last night, and it looked like it was trying to come over the back ridge behind Castle Point about 10 PM.

We had a lot of helicopter activity yesterday (Sunday) and they are out in force again today, I think mostly for structure defense behind Polo Ridge? Early Saturday the focus was mostly defending the east side of Shepard Mesa, but later in the day the choppers were ferrying loads NE of Snowball

I think they will try to contain the fire to the east side of Ramero Canyon, and with the diminishing east wind, hopefully they will succeed. There will be some east and NE wind at night, but I suspect that during the day it will draw in light from the ocean / onshore from the SW?

The light offshore flow is forecasted to continue for the next few days, then toward the end of the workweek it turns briefly on-shore before going offshore again this coming weekend.