Fires

All Thomas Fire evacuations lifted for Santa Barbara County

Dramatic, close-up footage of Southern California wildfire battle

Southern California's largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing Sunday, December 10, 2017. Crews with help from water-dropping aircraft saved several homes as unpredictable gusts sent the blaze churning deeper into foothill area
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Southern California's largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing Sunday, December 10, 2017. Crews with help from water-dropping aircraft saved several homes as unpredictable gusts sent the blaze churning deeper into foothill area

All Santa Barbara County residents who were under evacuation orders or warnings related to the Thomas Fire are free to return home.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office made the announcement Thursday morning after favorable weather conditions Wednesday allowed crews to increase containment of the blaze to 60 percent.

“Residents are asked to remain aware as fire equipment will continue to work in the area,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

The Thomas Fire holds steady at 272,200 acres and 60 percent containment, despite what Cal Fire called a “significant wind event” Wednesday night into Thursday morning. A Red Flag Warning for high winds in southern Santa Barbara that was originally in effect until 1 p.m. Thursday has also been lifted, according to the California Office of Emergency Management.

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7934, @andrewsheeler

The Santa Barbara Zoo had to say an early goodbye to its first-ever reindeer exhibit after the Thomas Fire forced it to evacuate two visiting reindeer to the Earl Warren Show Grounds on December 16, 2017. In a Facebook Live video on December 18, t

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