As the Thomas fire continues to rage, burning more than 200,000 acres, wind speeds are expected to be on the lower end of what’s been seen over the last week, forecasters say.
Over Sunday night and into Monday morning, there were wind gusts of around 20 mph across the lower mountains and foothills in the region of southeastern Santa Barbara County into southwestern Ventura County.
“Wind was probably not the biggest factor last night to this morning — it’s probably more the complex terrain, very dry and possibly widespread fuels for the fire and the fact that it’s a pretty large and ongoing fire,” said Robbie Munroe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
As fire crews fought to get a handle on the raging Thomas fire, all but one school district in Santa Barbara County decided to cancel Monday classes, officials said late Sunday.
Several of those districts — including Carpinteria Unified, Montecito Unified, Cold Spring, Santa Barbara Unified, Hope Elementary and Goleta — will be closed until after the New Year. Students had been scheduled to start winter break Dec. 18.
Meanwhile, UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang announced that the university has postponed final exams until next year.
Nearly 3,000 households and businesses in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties have been impacted by the Thomas fire, which has burned 155,000 acres since Monday, according to Southern California Edison.
The fire continues to threaten transmission lines serving the Santa Barbara area. As of 11:12 a.m., up to 85,000 customers in the Santa Barbara area were experiencing intermittent outages and power surges. In the Ventura area, 3,211 customers were experiencing outages.
The #ThomasFire has resulted in intermittent outages & power surges in the Santa Barbara area. The transmission lines serving the Santa Barbara area have been affected by the fire, and the fire is continuing to threaten these lines. For latest info, visit https://t.co/IsePZ8I5DB
Saturday on Wrightwood Road in Bonsall was a time for sifting — sifting through memories, through tears, through ashes.
When the Lilac fire blew through here Thursday afternoon, it burned down at least seven houses on this hilly street, and it would have been worse if firefighters and a half-dozen neighbors hadn’t been there to put out flames that in some places licked to within a few feet of the outside walls.
So along with the lingering smell of wood smoke, there was a swirl of emotion up and down the road Saturday morning. People who lost their houses were grateful to be alive. Those whose houses still stood felt relieved, but also a little guilty, and they grieved for what their neighbors were going through.
John Knapp didn’t know what he would find when he returned to his home in the Rancho Monserate Country Club retirement community Friday morning, a day after the Lilac fire swept through.
Dozens of the 230 carefully kept manufactured houses, lined up in neat, hillside rows, burned to the ground in the wildfire that covered nearly 4,000 acres in about 12 hours. Residents had just minutes to evacuate.
“I thought I saw it burning on TV last night,” Knapp said as he rushed up the street toward his place.