The fire killed at least: Virginia Pesola, 70, of Santa Paula and Cory Iverson, 32, a firefighter from San Diego.
The Los Padres National Forest is closed to the public within the Thomas Fire perimeter on the Santa Barbara and Ojai Ranger Districts.More news: Aetna (NYSE:AET) Raised to "Overweight" at Piper Jaffray Companies
The fire remains under investigation, but not before destroying more than 1,000 structures and damaging 280 structures. While California wildfires generally occur in hot summer months, years of drought have created conditions where such disasters can occur year-round. "The large amounts of mud and debris are making access and progress challenging", Friday's Santa Barbara County Fire incident update said.
"It's heartbreaking that just weeks after the Thomas Fire devastated the Central Coast, our community is again facing awful destruction and the tragic loss of family and friends", said Steve Ortiz, United Way of Santa Barbara County President & CEO, and Eric Harrison, President & CEO, United Way of Ventura County, in a joint statement. Campfires are allowed only in designated-use sites, and no fires are allowed in the backcountry; portable stoves and lanterns (with an on-off switch) are only permitted with a valid California Campfire Permit.More news: Oklahoma health officials say flu death toll is 22
The Montecito region near Santa Barbara, a wealthy area and other celebrities, was particularly badly hit. "It was literally a carpet of mud and debris everywhere". Mandatory evacuation orders were in place for parts of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
On Friday, officials warned about the potential for additional mudslides, noting that the risk of flooding is high until vegetation returns ― which could take five years.More news: Alabama Playbook Stolen from Atlanta Hotel Prior to Championship Game
With the fire now essentially out, officials are focusing on repairing damage from the firefighting efforts, and assessing risks from flooding and debris flows.