Firefighters continue to battle the Thomas Fire as it rages through Santa Barbara County and prompts further evacuation orders.

The Thomas Fire has grown to 270,500 acres and is 45 percent contained. It is now the third-largest recorded wildfire in California, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

California has so far spent $110,286,5000 fighting the fire.

The fire is now approximately 17 miles from UC Santa Barbara and Isla Vista.

The Nexus is tracking the Thomas Fire to provide updates on its distance from campus and I.V. Zoom in on the map and click on individual areas for details.

Approximately 8,400 firefighters are currently working to protect the threatened areas. One San Diego firefighter died Thursday while fighting the fire.

Goleta is not currently threatened, according to a City of Goleta press release Saturday morning. City officials encourage residents to stay home to avoid “congestion on local roads.”

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

The fire first began on Dec. 4 around 6:30 p.m. and has continued to spread rapidly due to high speed winds of 52 miles per hour, according to Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesperson.

UCSB converted its large gym into an evacuation center on Dec. 5. Over 120 evacuees are currently staying at the center. Masks are also available at the center.

According to Cal Fire, 1,020 structures have been destroyed so far and 18,000 are currently threatened. Most of the structures that have been destroyed are single-family residences, with 756 burned structures in total.

The fire reached Montecito on Saturday and the city is now under a mandatory evacuation order.

For those in a mandatory evacuation area in Montecito without transportation, vans and busses will be picking up individuals from the Franklin Center at 1136 East Montecito Street and are heading to UCSB’s evacuation center.

Further questions about the Montecito evacuation transportation can be answered at (805) 897-2582.

Cal Fire released the complete new list of voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders on Saturday.

Air quality conditions are “expected to remain highly variable” and monitoring stations continue to record “unhealthy air,” according to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

Strong winds may stir up ash over the weekend, the department warned in a press release Friday. The air quality warning will remain in place through the weekend.

Santa Barbara’s air quality is “unhealthy” and Goleta’s is “good,” according to the Santa Barbara County’s Air Pollution Control District.

Mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders for the city of Ventura were lifted Saturday, according to the Ready Ventura County website.

Many UCSB students left campus early after Chancellor Henry T. Yang canceled finals week on Dec. 10. In an email to students, Yang said finals would be postponed due to poor air quality and the intermittent power outages that occurred on campus and in I.V. during the last week of classes.

Community meetings about the Thomas Fire are held daily at 4 p.m. at San Marcos High School until further notice.

Additional information about the fire can be reached at the Santa Barbara County Fire Information Line at (800) 400-1572 and at

Updated Dec. 17 at 11:24 a.m.

Updated 11:46 a.m.


Evelyn Spence
Evelyn Spence harbors a great love for em dashes and runs on nothing but iced coffee, Jolly Ranchers and breaking news. She serves as the managing editor and can be reached at, or at @evelynrosesc on Twitter.