The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has announced that Highway 154 will be fully closed from Cathedral Oaks Road/State Route 192 in Santa Barbara to Highway 246 on Thursday, Dec. 14 from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.
This full closure is necessary so that firefighting equipment can be safely moved throughout the length of State Route 154 in response to brush fires in the region.
Residents who live and work within the boundaries of this closure will maintain access to State Route 154 with proper identification.
There is a possibility of further closures over the next few days. Caltrans will announce future closures as soon as details are available.
The Thomas Fire has now burned more than 237,500 acres and remains at 25 percent containment as of Wednesday afternoon, according to fire officials.
Lake Cachuma is now the staging area where more than 7,851 personnel have been fighting the week-long fire that has been estimated at costing more than $55.6 million.
There are 912 engines, 50 water tenders, 27 helicopters, 125 hand crews, 67 dozers and others assigned to the area. Some crews that the SYV Star staff talked to on Tuesday as they were coming into Lake Cachuma said they came in to refuel and get a few minutes of rest. Crews were from as far away as Oregon and Arizona and could be seen taking naps on cots, taking a moment to call family and friends, cleaning their equipment, making sure their equipment was functional, others were reading or taking a walk around the campground and picking up a few items at the Cachuma Lake General Store.
Motorists are advised to use U.S. Highway 101 to travel between south and north Santa Barbara County. Expect delays.
During times when Highway 154 is open, officials are still asking travelers to avoid Highway 154.
Other road closures in Santa Barbara County are listed at www.countyofsb.org.