Power Lines and High Winds Caused Thomas Fire
Thomas Fire (VCFD)
By edhat staff
The Ventura County Fire Department (VCFD) has determined the Thomas Fire was started by power lines coming into contact during high winds.
VCFD released their report on Wednesday stating, "A high wind event caused the power lines to come into contact with each other, creating an electrical arc. The electrical arc deposited hot, burning or molten material onto the ground, in a receptive fuel bed, causing the fire. The common term for this situation is called 'line slap,' and the power line in question is owned by Southern California Edison."
The Thomas Fire sparked the evening of December 4, 2017, and burned a total of 281,893 acres; destroying 1,063 structures and resulting in one civilian and one firefighter fatality. It burned for nearly 40 days, threatening the cities of Santa Paula, Ventura, Ojai and Fillmore, Carpinteria, Montecito, and Santa Barbara, as well as many unincorporated communities.
It was declared 100 percent controlled on January 12, 2018. Nearly 9,000 emergency personnel were working the fire with emergency responders traveling across the western United States to assist.
The Thomas Fire has also been labeled a contributing factor of the debris flow in Montecito on January 9, 2018, that caused 23 deaths. An estimated 0.5 inches of rain fell within a five-minute period around 3:30 a.m., which caused mud and boulders from the Santa Ynez Mountains that were significantly affected by the Thomas Fire burn areas, to flow down creeks and valleys into Montecito homes.
VCFD investigators were dispatched with initial attack resources to the wildfire and immediately began working to determine its origin and cause. An investigative team was comprised of the following agencies: CAL FIRE, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO), Santa Barbara County Fire Department, and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).
To view the Thomas Fire Investigation Report, click here.