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Flames From Thomas Fire Close Highway 101, But Southbound Lanes Reopen

Flames from the Thomas fire near La Conchita

The Thomas brush fire has continued to mushroom in size, and forced the complete closure of Highway 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties overnight.  Southbound lanes of the 101 reopened at around 6:30 a.m.

Northbound 101 is shut down from the 101-126 interchange in Ventura to Carpinteria.  The fire also closed Highway 33 from Ventura to Ojai, and Highway 150 from Ojai to Carpinteria, so the normal bypass route is also closed,  Travelers have to go in land to Interstate 5 to get between the counties.

The fire forced the evacuation of La Conchita, and its 300 plus residents.  Flames burned next to the small community, destroying what was believed to be a vacant structure.  But, firefighters have been able to protect the homes.

Mandatory evacuation porders were also put into effect early Thursday for the Rincon Point area near Carpinteria, which is home to about 300 people.  There were also mandatory evacuations for parts of the Ojai Valley west of Highway 33.  The fire was officially at 90,000 acres burned Wednesday night.

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