Thomas Fire scorches 173,000 acres, 754 structures

The Thomas Fire has scorched more than 173,000 acres and has moved into Santa Barbara County, according to a Sunday afternoon report from Cal Fire. Air quality alerts have been issued for San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The fire ignited Dec. 1 north of Santa Paula near highways 150 and 126. As of Sunday afternoon, 754 structures have been destroyed and 162 have been damaged. The fire is currently 15 percent contained.

The Thomas Fire, spread by Santa Ana winds, continues to burn actively to the north, east, and west with significant activity in the Carpinteria area.

The fire currently threatens total 15,000 structures in the cities of Ventura, Ojai, Casitas Springs, Santa Paula, Carpinteria, Fillmore and the unincorporated areas of Ventura County and Matilija Canyon. The fire is expected to spread towards Sespe Wilderness and the Sespe Condor Sanctuary.

Officials have issued new evacuation orders for residents in areas north of Carpinteria from Toro Canyon Road east to the Santa Barbara County line, north of Highway 192, also in areas east of Buena Vista Drive to the county line and north of Highway 192. Voluntary evacuation orders have been issued for areas east of San Ysidro to the county line, and south of Highway 192 to the ocean.

Since the fire erupted seven days ago, more than 88,000 people have been forced to evacuate.