Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Massive Thomas Brush Fire, Which Set The Stage For Flash Flood In Montecito, Now 100% Contained

One of the Ventura homes destroyed by the Thomas brush fire on December 4th

Firefighters say they now have full containment of the monster 282,000 acre Thomas brush fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, the inferno which set the stage for this week's flash flooding in Montecito.

The fire is the largest in modern day state history.  It started off of Highway 150 near Santa Paula December 4th, and led to two deaths and the loss of more than a thousand homes and other buildings.

Firefighters had built containment lines around populated areas like Ventura and Santa Barbara weeks ago, but the northeast corner of the fire in the Los Padres National Forest was difficult to contain because of the rugged, inaccessible terrain.

The inferno stripped mountains bare in, and around a number of communities, including the Montecito area.  Fire officials say because of the barren slopes, rain which would normally take a day to get from the mountains above Montecito to the ocean could now do it in 15 minutes.

The flooding was the result of a worst case scenario the National Weather Service, and Santa Barbara County officials had warned about last week, in which a heavy amount of rainfall during a very short period of time could trigger flash flooding.  The same storm which caused the flooding also led to full containment of the fire.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.