LA Times: Fire crews fighting to defend Carpinteria from re-energized Thomas fire11 December 2017 | 00:28 | FOCUS News Agency
With the 170,000-acre fire burning out of control, authorities issued evacuation orders for portions of Carpinteria and nearby Montecito and urged residents outside the designated areas to begin preparing to leave.
Santa Ana winds, aided by extremely low humidity, pushed the Ventura County fire over the Santa Barbara County line Saturday night. The winds that bedeviled fire crews from San Diego to Ojai last week were gusting at speeds of up to 35 mph, fire officials said.
Their greatest concern was for Carpinteria. The fire was moving west above the city in an area of very dry vegetation that hasn't burned in about 100 years, said Steve Swindle, spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.
“The fuels in there are thick and they're dead so they're very receptive to fire,” Swindle said.
Fire officials feared that if the fire moves into nearby creek beds, it might create a chimney-like effect, sending the flames roaring along the creek’s path.
Firefighters on Sunday morning were making a stand at a cluster of homes on Shepard Mesa Road where flames threatened to sweep through the area, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
The department posted a photo of one home burning on Gobernador Canyon Road. It’s unclear whether other structures were lost.
Crews were cutting lines outside the city in an effort to keep flames from further encroachment and “contingency strike teams” were dispatched throughout Carpinteria in case the blaze manages to cross fire lines, said Newport Beach Firefighter Jude Olivas, a spokesman for the Thomas fire response. By midmorning Sunday, the fire was burning the Camino Cielo Mountain Range and approaching Cate School, a Carpinteria boarding school under mandatory evacuation. On its website, the school said it would remain closed until after winter break, according to fire officials.
Southern California Edison officials said Sunday that up to 85,000 customers in Santa Barbara County were without power.
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