One person killed in Ventura County wildfire, high winds a threat

One person killed in Ventura County wildfire, high winds a threat

All South County schools chose to close Thursday due to the impacts of the Thomas Fire raging in nearby Ventura County, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Susan Salcido said.

The Goleta Union School District and the Santa Barbara Unified School District have canceled classes for December 7.

As of Thursday, the community college has chose to cancel classes Thursday through Saturday at all of its campuses.

The 40 minute roundtrip for the air tankers from the fire zone in Ventura County to the Santa Maria Airport to refuel and reload retardant means a significant shift in the aerial attack on the Thomas Fire.

CAL FIRE says strong winds are pushing the fire to move west, toward Carpinteria. However, officials ask drivers to avoid Highway 101 if possible.

Sheriff's and fire officials were preparing to evacuate the Bates Road and Rincon Hill areas, which along with the area south of Highway 101 to the coast and east of Dump Road, had been placed under an evacuation warning about about 9:20 p.m. Wednesday.

"Particulate matter from a forest fire, is smaller in size that our normal environmental pollutants, causing these particles to get deeper into the lungs", said Gilbert J. Kuhn Jr., Providence Saint John's Health Center. Some residents pulled over to get a better look.

Amtrak said there would be no service Thursday from Santa Barbara to Ventura. SMFD sent an engine and a battalion chief to help with the Creek Fire burning in the Sylmar Area late Tuesday night.

Public Information Officer Constance Farrell said local fire and police departments as well as libraries remained fully staffed, despite the number of employees cut off by the closure of the Sepulveda Pass Wednesday.

Fire crews tell KSBY a lot of evacuees are suffering from sore eyes caused by the embers and the ash that has blanketed the area.

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