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This is the Thomas fire 'hot spot' map on Monday, Dec. 18, 2017. If wind conditions stay good, defensive backfire operations will take place today in the Los Padres National Forest in the rugged terrain south of Lockwood Valley.
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The Thomas fire continues to move northeastward through Los Padres National Forest land. The Mount Pinos, Ojai and Santa Barbara Ranger Districts have been closed. Please look carefully at this map, the precautionary closure includes all of the Mountain Communities.
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This InciWeb-USGS map shows the footprint of the Thomas fire on December 9, 2017. It has destroyed 710 structures in Ojai, Ventura and Santa Paula so far, damaging 162 more. There have been no injuries to residents or firefighters. The fire is entering the Sespe Wilderness (a California condor sanctuary) and could come toward Lockwood Valley if winds flare up again.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2018 at 1 p.m.)—Clean up efforts of hot spots and stabilizing of terrain against mudslides is the primary agenda for firefighters in the Los Padres National Forest regions of the Thomas fire. Rains are predicted early this week, starting early Monday morning, through Wednesday. The numbers remained stable for the fire as of January 6: 92% containment; 281,893 acres burned; 326 firefighters on duty.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at 10 a.m.)—It was a Happy New Year’s gift to California that the Thomas fire containment has held steady at 92%. Another 133 firefighters have been able to return home; 487 remain to put out hot spots and initiate recovery operations.
Fate’s end-of-year reminder to us all of the perils of dry brush and surging Santa Ana winds burned 281,893 acres and took the title as the largest fire in California’s recorded history. Let’s hope it retains that title forever, and that such a maelstrom does not occur ever again. Two lives were lost and thousands of lives have been changed forever. The Thomas fire destroyed 1,063 structures and damaged 280.
The Mount Piños Ranger District is open again. Now clean-up and recovery operations are underway in the national forest areas, as precautions against mudslides in burn areas are put into place. Entry into the forest burn areas are still forbidden, and forest roads in those areas are still closed. Highway 33 is open again.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 at 5:56 a.m.)—The Thomas fire is now 92% contained and the Mount Piños Ranger District of the Los Padres National Forest is now open again. The number of personnel assigned to the fire is now down to 620. Incident command will be transferred to Los Padres National Forest at 6 p.m. this evening.
The remaining ‘hot spots’ are all within LPNF. Santa Barbara, Ojai and Ventura are all engaged in civil recovery and reconstruction activities. Air quality is moderate to good. Winds are mild. Visitors are invited.
Here is the order from the Los Padres National Forest:
GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials have revised the areas closed to the public due to the Thomas Fire. The revised order opens access to the Mt. Pinos Ranger District and prohibits access to only those areas within the Thomas Fire perimeter on the Ojai and Santa Barbara Ranger Districts.
The revised order took effect Friday, Dec. 29. Fire remains active within portions of the burned areas. Crews and heavy equipment are performing wildfire suppression, repairing areas affected by fire-suppression activities, and performing wildfire severity and hazard assessments. The closure will remain in effect until it is safe to reenter the area.
“For public and firefighter safety, the emergency closure of the Los Padres National Forest within the Thomas Fire perimeter remains in place. Firefighting personnel and equipment are still active in the area,” said Pancho Smith, district ranger for the Ojai and Santa Barbara Districts. “Our top priority is the safety of the public, adjacent communities and our firefighters.”
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017 at 8:42 p.m.)— Firefighters are still returning home as the Thomas fire is now 91% contained. The fighting force has dropped to 655 people. There are still hot spots, but very little active burning left, Andrew Madsen of Los Padres National Forest said. Forest closures in some the Mount Piños area are still being enforced.
Merry Christmas! The largest fire in California’s history is now 86% contained.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 at 7:34 a.m.)—The Thomas fire grew to 281,620 acres in 21 days, from December 4 to December 24, 2017. It destroyed 1,063 structures and damaged another 280. As of this morning, it is finally 86% contained. The firefighting force is down to 1,586 people. About 7,000 firefighters have returned home in this past week. There is still fire burning in the Los Padres National Forest.
The closure of the Mount Pinos Ranger District has not been lifted. There is still a 6 month in jail and $5,000 fine in force for those who violate the closure.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017 at 6:02 a.m.)—The latest report on the Thomas fire is that it was held to 273,400 acres yesterday and that it is now 70% contained.** The primary areas still burning are in the Los Padres National Forest, south of Lockwood Valley Road. Overnight, the personnel staffing the fire dropped to 1,573.
An InCiWeb update was issued later on Christmas Eve by incident Command, they said that containment had been reported in the morning as 78% due to a typo error. The actual containment figure was, and is, 70%. [The officials’ statement added, ” We apologize for any confusion this has created.]
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017 at 8:20 a.m.)—Today at 8 a.m. a major shift took place, signaling the winding down of the Thomas Fire. From a force of over 8,000 firefighters, the personnel count was dropped today to 2,512. The fire is now 65% contained with a controlled perimeter encompassing 273,400 acres, making it the largest fire in California’s recorded history. The number of structures destroyed is logged by incident command as 1,063, with 280 more structures damaged.
The fire started on December 4 near Santa Paula at about 6:30 p.m. Within 5 hours the blaze traveled 14 miles, spreading to Ventura and Ojai, moving up into Montecito and Santa Barbara, and jutting to the northeast into the Los Padres National Forest, through Rose Valley, which is just 14 miles south of Lockwood Valley. The cause of the fire is still being investigated, but howling Santa Ana winds and dense, dry fuels on hillsides and in canyons fed its spread.
Yesterday at 6 p.m. Thomas Fire management responsibilities were transferred to California Interagency Incident Management Team 3 under leadership of Incident Commander Mark Von Tillow, the command announced this morning. Most fire suppression activity is now on National Forest System lands. CAL FIRE will continue assisting with the overall fire suppression and recovery efforts, as needed.
The front country fire perimeter near the coast and urban areas is secure. Firefighters are building upon previous gains by securing established containment lines adjacent to communities and other infrastructure. Mop up operations along the fire perimeter and active patrol are ongoing. Firefighters and aircraft remain available to address flare-ups or new starts in the area.
Firefighters conducted strategic firing operations on the northern flank of the fire along Cherry Creek Road near Highway 33. This offensive tactic, removing fuel ahead of the uncontained fire’s edge, is being implemented to prevent the fire from spreading further to the north. Some heat remains in the Bear Heaven area. Air support with water drops is used due to steep, rugged terrain with limited access.
Residents and visitors to Santa Barbara and Ventura counties may see an increase in wildlife in local communities due to displacement from the fire. Individuals who encounter these displaced animals are encouraged to maintain a safe distance, refrain from feeding them (so they will not become habituated to human neighborhoods). Contact the local animal control office if a threat is perceived.
State Route 33 is still closed at Fairview Road. Portions of Los Padres National Forest remain closed, including the Mount Pinos Ranger District.
There are currently no mandatory evacuation orders in effect. Residents on Highway 33 between Rose Valley north to Hartman Ranch remain under a voluntary evacuation warning due to fire activity in the nearby areas.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Friday, Dec. 22, 2017 at 7:30 p.m)—The Thomas fire became the largest on record in California today as the Ventura-Santa Barbara area blaze that has moved into the Los Padres National Forest grew to 273,400 acres, whipped by continuing winds through parched fuel loads.
The hot areas of the fire still burning are south of Lockwood Valley. Firefighters are using backburn techniques to thin fuels. The Los Padres National Forest remains closed to the public on the Mt. Pinos Ranger District, as well as the Santa Barbara and Ojai districts.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Friday, Dec. 22, 2017 at 12 p.m)—The Thomas fire grew 600 acres yesterday. It is now 272,800 acres, but firefighters report that it is at 65% containment.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 at 9:37 a.m.)— The fire has inched up 200 more acres in size and is at 272,200 acres this morning, according to incident command. The containment is still listed as 60%.
Over 63% (147,469 acres so far) of the fire are on federal lands, the majority of that is on national forest land. Command says that over 30 miles of fire lines are still being built.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 at 4 p.m.)—Light rain has changed to light snow crystals as the sun sets and the Mountain Communities are enveloped in a cold, wet cloud this afternoon. The fire is projected to be 100% contained by January 7, 2018 according to CalFire’s incident command.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 at 1:40 p.m.)—An icy southwest wind, with strong gusts, blew through the Mountain Communities in the last hour and brought with it precipitation. Yes, rain, but just .02 inch so far at 6,000 feet. Temperatures have fallen by about 15 degrees. It is 36 degrees presently in the Pine Mountain community, 40 degrees in Frazier Park. Winds are now quiet.
Clearly, precipitation may be a hopeful sign for fire conditions, if dry fuels become dampened and the wind speeds stay subdued.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 at 11:40 a.m.)—For the first time in 16 days, the Thomas fire has been held to its boundaries, without growing. It is still 272,000 acres today, but now at 60% containment, incident command said.
Just yesterday over 8,000 firefighters were working on the blaze. Today the count is at about 6,500. Some estimates this week project that the fire will be fully contained within the first two weeks of January.
Wind conditions today are picking up again, which may lead to changes in the fire’s behavior. This has been a wind and fuel driven fire. It began December 4 in the evening during a Santa Ana event with winds up to 50 and 60 mph. The fire started near Santa Paula, and spread rapidly to become the third largest fire in California’s recorded history.
The northeastern edge of the fire has most the hot spots now. That portion is in the Los Padres National Forest. The Mount Pinos Ranger District is closed to all resident and nonresident visitors. Fines and jail time can be given for violating the hard closure order.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 at 6:40 p.m.)—The Thomas fire has grown to 272,000 acres, nailing the number three largest fire in California spot and edging closer to being named number two. The good news is that containment is now set at 55%. The strategy of structure protection on the western (urbanized) side, and an attempt to corral the northeastern leading edges of the fire into burn scars and defensive dozer positions in the Los Padres National Forest continued today.
The entire Mount Pinos District of the Los Padres National Forest is closed. It is a strict closure: no walking the dog or off-roading. Those who receive citations may also receive a $5,000 fine and six months in jail for violating the closure.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Monday, Dec. 18, 2017 at 3:10 p.m.)— Shortly before noon today we learned from Ventura County Supervisor Kelly Long’s Chief of Staff Paul Grossgold that two additional Ventura County sheriff’s deputies are being assigned to the Lockwood Valley substation. We asked for a clarification statement from Sheriff Dean’s office about why that measure is being taken.
Sergeant Eric Buschow, a Ventura County Sheriff’s Office information officer, confirmed that two additional deputies have been added to help the two deputies normally assigned to Lockwood Valley. The fire has now headed into the Los Padres National Forest. It is moving through “the Sespe drainage,” which is south of Lockwood Valley.
“If the fire advances, it may generate more calls for service to the [Lockwood Valley] substation. There can be additional vehicle and foot traffic by interested media and spectators. The additional personnel are to help the resident deputies with any patrol needs they have,” Buschow said, adding that “there is no longer burning on Ventura side, but the Rose Valley evacuation is still in force.”
To the west, firefighters seek to steer the fire toward the Zaca fire burn scar and the Day Fire burn scar. If they can steer it into those, “they hope the progress of the fire will be stopped,” Buschow said.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Monday, Dec. 18, 2017 at 1:10 p.m.)—The Thomas fire is now 270,500 acres. Containment is at 45%. Structure protection is the priority in the western section which threatened Santa Barbara, Montecito, Ojai and Ventura. There are also active burns adjacent to the Fillmore area.
The Thomas fire’s main growth is now taking place on the northeast edges, moving into the Sespe drainage areas of the Los Padres National Forest. Today, if wind conditions hold, there will be defensive “backburn” helitorch operations, according to Aspen Helicopter co-owner Rick Throckmorton and Paul Grossgold of Ventura County Supervisor Kelly Long’s office. Helicopters will be used to light strategically placed backfires to reduce fuels and to drive the fire toward burn scars and extensive defensive bulldozer fire lines. The fire behavior specialists and meteorologists seek to cause the fire to “lie down” by driving it into areas with no fuel, “so it will starve and its growth will be stopped.” (see story here).
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017 at 2 p.m.)–The Thomas fire is reported today at 269,000 acres.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.)– A procession for Engineer Corey Iverson from Ventura will begin at 10 a.m on Sunday and proceed down Highway 101 to San Diego. Iverson was the first firefighter killed in the Thomas fire
The first resident to die was Virginia Pesola, 70, of Santa Paula who was in a traffic accident while evacuating. The Mountain Enterprise was notified Friday that Pesola also owned a house in Pine Mountain Club. We will be able to independently confirm that on Monday and report more.
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Friday, Dec. 16, 2017 at 2 p.m.)– The Thomas fire has grown to 259,000 acres, making it now the third largest fire in California history., according to the Associated Press. “Red flag” fire conditions—hot, dry and windy—have continued for 13 days in a row on the coastal areas of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. The good news is that containment is at 40%. High winds tonight could change that. A shift in winds to the north could bring the fire toward the Mountain Communities. Please stay alert and prepared. Put together a “go -pack” in case you have to leave suddenly. See suggestions below.
Ventura County animal evacuations finished, animals returning home
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 at 1:22 p.m.)—
The Thomas fire has grown to 252,000 acres, but is rated as 35% contained. The call for places to house evacuated Ventura County animals is over, and animals are being returned to their homes, according to Vicky Belick.
Firefighter fatality reported near Fillmore; second death not in statistics, but also resulted from Thomas fire
LOCKWOOD VALLEY, CA (Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 at 1 p.m.)—A firefighter has been reported to have died in an accident near Fillmore while fighting the Thomas fire. Details are not yet available. This is the first fatality reported in this fire.” Gusty winds have eliminated backburn plans to thin fuels. The fire has increased another 12,000 acres to 242,500 acres. There is good news. The containment level is up to 30%.
*There is some controversy regarding whether the death of Virginia Pesola, 70, of Santa Paula was to be reported as a fire fatality. She was found dead at the site of a car crash on an evacuation route for the Thomas fire. The Ventura County chief medical examiner Dr. Christopher Young said on Friday, Dec. 8 that the blunt force trauma from the crash plus smoke inhalation and thermal trauma were the cause of death. Inciweb and CalFire statistics do not include Ms. Pesola’s death in its summaries of statistics for the Thomas fire, listing “0” fatalities from the fire up until our press time for The Mountain Enterprise on Wednesday, Dec. 13.
Thomas fire in mountains above Fillmore, near Sespe Condor Sanctuary
Lockwood Valley, CA (Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 at 4 p.m.)— It is wise to put together a go-pak for your family well in advance, because power may be turned out in the event that winds increase in this area and the fire heads this way. Families often have 15 minutes or less to depart.You might be away from your residence for a prolonged period of time. Start by signing up to receive an alert immediately in the case of a threat in your area. Sign up to receive a Ventura County alert here about the fire’s possible move toward Lockwood Valley. Sign up for ReadyKern Alerts here.
We learned from the Day fire that when a wind-driven fire leaps toward Lockwood Valley, it can also head from there toward the Pine Mountain community, Lake of the Woods and Piñon Pines. We should all prepare a go-pak. Prepare a bag that contains
•Copies of important documents you might need (birth certificates, marriage certificates, health and property insurance documents, etc.);
•Your cell phone chargers;
•Any emergency supplies you need (such as reserve batteries, flashlights, blankets, plus water and food) in the car;
•A change of clothes, and toiletries.
Here is a more specific set of tools that may be very helpful for getting your family prepared, just in case it is necessary to leave quickly.
Thomas Fire information is updated here.
Thomas fire grows to 230,000 acres by Sunday night; containment drops from 15% to 10%
Lockwood Valley, CA (Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 at 6:30 a.m.)—Ventura County Supervisor Kelly Long (who represents Lockwood Valley) sent an email about preparedness for Lockwood residents this weekend. Her Chief of Staff Paul Grossgold called The Mountain Enterprise on Sunday to ask that residents stay informed about the progress of the fire. He suggested they put together preparedness plans and ‘go-packs’ in case evacuation becomes wise.
The “low winds” of the weekend were supposed to be a time for firefighters to be able to catch up with containment of the Thomas fire. But the giant blaze grew 50,000 acres instead, to become the fifth largest fire in California history. By Sunday night its size had expanded, according to incident command, to 230,000 acres—360 square miles, larger than the island of Manhattan, as NPR put it. Containment dropped from 15% to 10%. The burning continues to move northeast.
On the east it is moving toward the Sespe Wilderness and Rose Valley area, which is 14 miles from Lockwood Valley Road. The hills above Fillmore were ablaze Monday morning, PMC resident Rick Throckmorton reported with a startling photo. Please contact Vicky Belick (805.469.0896) if you can provide fenced space for threatened animals that need to be evacuated.
The northern advance of the Thomas fire took it into the beautiful flower farms, neighborhoods and vineyards of Carpenteria and Montecito. The eastern advance moved it over into the Sespe Wlderness of the Los Padres National Forest (LPNF). The Mt. Pinos and Ojai Ranger Districts of the LPNF have been closed to all visitors. The Sespe Condor Sanctuary is threatened.
On the hopeful side, between the Sespe Wilderness and Lockwood Valley there are areas that may serve as natural fire breaks, after earlier wildland fires of the past 10 years have reduced fuels in these areas.
173,000 acres is new Thomas fire count as winds move it toward Sespe Condor Sanctuary
Lockwood Valley, CA (Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 at 8:41 a.m.)—
Thomas fire update from InciWeb: The fire is expected to spread towards Sespe Wilderness and the Sespe Condor Sanctuary. Moderate Santa Ana winds pushed the fire last night and will continue through early this afternoon, causing the fire to burned actively with significant growth in the Carpinteria area, according to incident command. The count for acres currently burned by the fire has been published by official sources as 155,000 and 173,000 as of this morning. Please contact Vicky Belick (805.469.0896) if you can provide fenced space for threatened animals from Ventura County areas of Ojai and Ventura.
The fire continues to burn actively to the north, east and west. It threatens structures in various parts of the cities of Ventura, Ojai, Casitas Springs, Santa Paula, Carpinteria, Fillmore and the unincorporated areas of Ventura County and Matilija Canyon. “Firefighters continue to work aggressively to protect life and property while working on control efforts around the fire perimeter,” incidnet command reports.
Incident Start Date: 12/04/2017; Incident Start Time: 6:26; P.M. Incident Type: Wildland Fire; Cause: Under Investigation; Incident Location: Santa Paula / Ventura ; Expected Containment: Unknown; Total Acreage: 173,000; Containment: 15% Firefighter Injuries: 0 Civilian Injuries: 0
The Thomas fire is now
at 155,000 acres, bearing northeast
Lockwood Valley, CA (Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, 8:36 a.m.)— The Thomas fire has grown to 155,000 acres, though wind conditions were relatively quiet Saturday. Containment was at 15% last night. The fire is now spreading northeast toward Carpenteria and into the Sespe Wilderness, a California condor refuge. That could lead it eventually toward Lockwood Valley if there are intense wind events. Air tankers and helicopters have sometimes been unable to assist due to savage wind and smoke conditions. A list of possible places to evacuate livestock is being compiled. Please contact Vicky Belick (805.469.0896) if you can provide fenced space for threatened animals.
Here are comments from Jeff Zimmerman of Neenach, a retired firefighter and active photographer who has been documenting the Southern California fire events: “The Thomas fire might become well-established in the Sespe Wilderness. With no rain and strong winds, there could be concern about Lockwood Valley , Summerland and Montecito.”
Zimmerman said NE winds “with very aggressive fire behavior” are expected today. “Lockwood Valley residents need to keep an eye on this fire in a few days should the Sespie get ripping. Fire will probably surpass 200,000 acres in a few days…. No rain is in sight. This fire can move a long way in the next few days.”
The fire that started December 4 in the Santa Paula area was quickly propelled by 50 miles per hour winds into Ventura and Ojai. It destroyed 710 homes and buildings and damaged 162, with 15,000 threatened, depending on wind activity in the coming week. Over 200,000 people in the region evacuated, but there have been no injuries reported from the Thomas fire. Zimmerman predicts it could “have good burning conditions” through Christmas.
•The Thomas fire is currently at 148,000 acres with 15% Containment
VENTURA COUNTY (Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, 7 p.m.)— The Thomas fire fire, reported at 148,000 acres, spread toward Santa Barbara County, Sespe Wilderness and the Sespe Condor Sanctuary. Although a Red Flag Warning remained in effect for the area, for Saturday NE winds diminished in the afternoon hours with week onshore flow developing. Firefighters continue to work aggressively to protect life and property while working on control efforts around the fire perimeter.Active backing fire with short runs in alignment with topography and wind hampered containment efforts. The fire continues to threaten structures in various parts of the cities of Ventura, Ojai, Casitas Springs, Santa Paula, Carpinteria, Fillmore and the unincorporated areas of Ventura County and Matilija Canyon.
The Thomas Fire is still two mountain ranges away from the Frazier Mountain Communities, but the Mt. Pinos District of the Los Padres National Forest was closed as of Saturday afternoon to prevent individuals from getting trapped in the forest if fires began to spread. See below.
•Mt. Pinos District — Los Padres National Forest closed due to Thomas Fire
LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST (Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 at 4:20 p.m.)—The administrators of the Los Padres National Forest issued a forest order this afternoon prohibiting access on the Ojai, Santa Barbara and Mt. Pinos Ranger Districts, effective immediately.
“The Thomas Fire is actively burning on multiple ranger districts, with separate flanks of the fire continuing to grow and spread rapidly. This closure is being implemented to provide for public safety and will remain in effect until it is safe to reenter the area,” the announcement said.
“We are experiencing unprecedented conditions and fire behavior for this time of year. Our top priority is the safety of the public, adjacent communities, and our firefighters,” District Ranger Pancho Smith said.
Forest Service law enforcement officers will strictly enforce the closure order, which carries a penalty of $5,000 and/or six months in jail.
• Evacuation sites needed for livestock from Ventura County
Lockwood Valley, CA (Friday, Dec. 8, 2017)— The fires that began on this week as a result of the 50-60 mph Santa Ana wind events in Ventura County, Los Angeles County and San Diego County are continuing. There is now a call from Ventura County seeking safe evacuation locations for livestock from the at-risk zones.
Paul Grossgold, Dist. 3 Chief of Staff for Ventura County Supervisor Kelly Long, is coordinating to try to find places to evacuate livestock from the Ojai / Ventura area.
Dick Albright of Lockwood Valley has volunteered to spread the word. Here is the note from Grossgold:
Turns out there is a program for people who have these kinds of resources to register, that way they’re on the list in case of emergency. The program is called EVERT and the coordinator’s name is Vicky Belick 805.469.0896. It’s important to be on the list, because in the past there have been unscrupulous people who show up to “help” and end up stealing horses. Vicky is excited about getting more people signed up, so please give her a call. Paul Grossgold
• Santa Clarita Rye fire blocks Lake of the Woods resident from getting home
Frazier Park, CA (Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 at 3:05 p.m.)—CHP reports that Interstate 5 lanes are open.
Frazier Park, CA (Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 at 2:05 p.m.)—Al Fleming finally made it home by taking Hwy. 14 and Hwy. 138 through Neenach.
Frazier Park, CA (Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 at 1:55 p.m.)—CHP reports that northbound lanes of Interstate 5 must remain closed for the time being.
Frazier Park, CA (Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 at 11:10 a.m.)—To all Mountain residents traveling north through Santa Clarita: Do NOT try to get around this fire to go north through Castaic. Get off the freeway and wait. Or go back to Highway 14 and take it north to Hwy 138, then come back to Interstate 5.
Frazier Park, CA (Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 at 10:57 a.m.)—CHP reports that drivers were turning their vehicles and driving the wrong way on the freeway to escape the fire.
Frazier Park, CA (Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 at 10:56 a.m.)—The Rye fire has jumped Newhall Ranch Road, according to CHP reports.
Frazier Park, CA (Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 at 10:53 a.m.)—The Rye fire in Santa Clarita, which started at about 9:30 a.m., has grown to 200 acres. Interstate 5 is closed in both directions. The fire has been burning north of Newhall Ranch Road and east of the freeway.
Santa Clarita, CA (Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 at 10:47 a.m.)—Al Fleming reports that the fire has jumped Interstate 5 to the west side.
Santa Clarita, CA (Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 at 10:45 a.m.)—Mountain resident Al Fleming was unable to get through Santa Clarita Valley 20 minutes ago as a large brush fire burning along Interstate 5 forced him off the northbound freeway at Newhall Ranch Road.
“It was so thick I could not see the car next to me. It’s really bad,” Fleming told The Mountain Enterprise as he sat in his car on Newhall Ranch Road. “It’s pretty scary,” he said.
Large brush fires are also burning in Sylmar along the 210 freeway and in the Santa Paula/Ventura area.
Those motorists traveling north on Interstate 5 and thinking of taking Hwy 126 out through Ventura should cancel that plan.
This is part of the December 8, 2017 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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