The Thomas Fire was first reported on Monday night around 6:30 p.m. in Santa Paula, in the vicinity of Steckel Park and Thomas Aquinas College near the 150 (Ojai Road). Due to gale force Santa Ana winds, the fire spread quickly overnight to over 55,000 acres in less than 24 hours in Santa Paula, Ojai and Ventura.
As of Tuesday night, December 5, the "Thomas Fire" has burned over 150 structures, including the Hawaiian Village Apartments in Ventura
Text the United Way of Ventura County at UWVC to 41444 to donate to Thomas Fire victims; 100% of the donations will go directly to those affected by the fires.
Schools have been closed Tuesday in Ventura County and on Wednesday the following schools are slated for closure due to the wildfires:
- CSU Channel Islands
- Nearly all K-12 schools in Ventura County, including Conejo Valley USD, Fillmore USD, Moorpark USD, Ojai USD, Pleasant Valley SD, Santa Paula USD, Ventura USD, Simi Valley USD, Oxnard Elementary and Union High School Districts and other schools listed at www.vcoe.org.
- UPDATE: The following districts will be closed the rest of the week (12/7-12/8): Briggs Elementary School District, Hueneme Elementary School District, Mesa Union Elementary SD, Mupu Elementary SD, Ocean View Elementary SD, Ojai USD, Oxnard Elementary SD, Oxnard Union HS District, Pleasant Valley SD, Rio Elementary SD, Santa Clara Elementary SD, Ventura USD.
- UPDATE: As of 2:30PM 12/6, school is planned for Simi Valley and Conejo Valley Unified School Districts.
Here's where to go for updates:
First and foremost, visit readyventuracounty.org for updates, mandatory evacuation areas, voluntary evacuations, evacuation shelters, school closures, road closures and other information.
If you are a Twitter user, the Ventura County Fire Department Public Information Officer provides periodic updates via Tweets at twitter.com/VCFD_PIO. The VCFD Twitter page also provides updates and some useful "Retweets" from other sources at twitter.com/VCFD.
Local area newspaper sites have Twitter and Facebook feeds that may come in handy:
- T.O. Acorn twitter.com/TOAcornNews
- T.O. Acorn Editor twitter.com/KyleBJorrey
- VC Star twitter.com/vcstar
- VC Star www.facebook.com/vcstar
Among TV news sites, I've found ABC 7 to have some great coverage abc7.com.
Subscribe to VC Alert, a free serviced utilized by all 10 cities in Ventura County as well as unincorporated areas for emergency updates. Text VCALERT to 313131 to register.
Cal Fire posts updates on its site at www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents.