The Thomas Fire, which has burned more than 267,500 acres in 13 days, is as of Sunday the third-largest wildfire in California history. It is still only 40 percent contained, though 8,400 firefighters have been working around the clock to evacuate people and save homes.
Mandatory evacuations have been issued throughout Montecito, displacing tens of thousands of Californians, who for some, had to flee only minutes before the fire destroyed their homes. According to CNN, that was the case of Jeannette Frescas, who at first was not concerned about the flames inching toward her neighborhood.
“At midnight, I woke up with flashlight in my face,” Frescas told CNN affiliate KEYT. “I looked out my window and there were flames that were about 100 feet all around us.”
“Once a paradise, was like a war zone,” she said, describing how the fire destroyed her apartment complex.
Patricia Rye, a Ventura resident, woke up as her son-in-law pounded on her door. She didn’t get a chance to bring with her any of her valuables.
“I didn’t have time to take anything,” Rye said. “My wallet, or any of my personal things. I literally left with the clothes on my back. If I had been thinking I would have got into my car, but I wasn’t thinking so my car was there.”
Twelve thousand people have been evacuated in Santa Barbara County, including animals at the local zoo. Other animals were placed into cages in case they needed to be evacuated as well, said zoo officials.
The area is also home to several high-profile stars, including Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. Winfrey has asked for prayer for her community, writing on Twitter, “Still praying for our little town. Winds picked up this morning creating a perfect storm of bad for firefighters.”
Please pray for the families who have been displaced by this terrible fire. Find out about a retired Major League Baseball player who died after a battle with pneumonia.