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Firefighters Using Fire To Fight Fire In Effort To Get Upper Hand On Thomas Fire

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)
Firefighters in the air and on the ground battle the Thomas fire in the East Camino Cielo area of Santa Barbara County

Firefighters are taking advantage of improved wind conditionsc to continue to make progress towards containment of the huge Thomas brush fire.  The fire has burned 270,000 acres, and is 45% contained.

With a lull in the wind Monday, plans to use backfires to stop the spread of the inferno were implemented.

Firefighters used fire to fight fire in the Los Padres National Forest. There are plans to burn in stages more than 10,000 acres of land potentially in the path of the Thomas Fire. The area is about 10 miles north of Ojai, off of Highway 33.

Monday's backfire activity put up a large plume of smoke visible in much of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Meanwhile, it was a quiet day in some areas which were the hotspots of the fire over the weekend. Firefighters continued mopup worth on Santa Barbara’s front country, and in the mountains northwest of Fillmore.

A number of evacuation orders were lifted or reduced, but tens of thousands of people in the Montecito and Santa Barbara foothills are still under mandatory evacuation orders.