Santa Barbara Becomes a Ghost Town as Monster Wildfire Moves Closer

Dec 17, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The Thomas Fire continued to grow Sunday as firefighters battled the strong Santa Ana winds to get control over the massive blaze before it reaches Santa Barbara. Reportedly, the city has become a ghost town from the widespread evacuations.

According to the latest California fire assessment at 8:58am Pacific Time, the monster wildfire has grown to 269,000 acres (420 square miles) and has destroyed 1,020 structures while damaging another 242 structures. Yet despite the efforts of 8,529 firefighters and 972 fire engines, the wildfire is currently only 40% contained.

As the winds push the fire westward, the mandatory (red on the map below) and voluntary (yellow) evacuation orders are expanding across Santa Barbara county. The solid red line shows the current extent of the Thomas Fire:

At 269,000 acres burned, the Thomas Fire is already nearing the top of the largest fires in California state history. Currently, the largest-ever wildfire was 2003’s Cedar Fire which burned 273,246 acres near San Diego. At 40% containment and just 4,246 acres less than the Cedar Fire, it’s likely that the Thomas Fire will become the largest fire in California state history.

Among the many Santa Barbara residents with their homes under threat is actor Rob Lowe. He took to Instagram before evacuating Saturday morning to show his house within striking distance of the flames:

Our house aprox 7:30 am today. Pray for Santa Barbara.

A post shared by Rob Lowe (@robloweofficial) on

The on-ground firefighters are receiving critical air support from the largest aerial firefighter in the world: the 747 Global SuperTanker.

Considering the proximity of the fire and the massive amount of smoke, the delays and cancellations have been moderate so far for Santa Barbara (SBA) airport, with 10 cancellations Saturday and 6 cancellations as of this writing on Sunday.

To help travelers affected by the fires, American Airlines and United continue to extend their travel waivers for SBA. These waivers allow passengers to change their flights in/out/through SBA at no additional cost.

American Airlines

  • Travel dates: December 12-18.
  • Airport covered: Santa Barbara (SBA)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by December 16.
  • Rebook travel anytime between December 12-22.
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same class or pay the difference.

United

  • Travel dates: December 17-18
  • Airport covered: Santa Barbara (SBA)
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before [December] 22, 2017, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

Featured image by Mike Eliason of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department posted on Twitter.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.