Sherpa – Santa Barbara

In Contained California Firesby YubaNet

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  • Incident Name: Sherpa – Santa Barbara
  • Size (acres): 7,474
  • Percent contained: 96%
  • Estimated containment date: July 21, 2016
  • Firefighters assigned: 58
  • Structures destroyed: 4
  • State: California
  • Lead Agency: LPF

Sherpa, Los Padres NF. Nineteen miles northwest of Santa Barbara, CA. Chaparral and tall grass. Minimal fire behavior with creeping.

July 8, 2016 at 10:42 AM 

The Los Padres National Forest is reporting that the Sherpa Fire in Santa Barbara County is holding at 96% containment. Crews are still working on suppression rehabilitation projects, such as, stabilizing firelines and rebuilding OHV barriers and fences that were damaged by dozers and fire crews in building line.

The crews are cleaning up piles of brush pushed up by bulldozers and chipping material that was cut along firelines. There are also crews patrolling the exterior and interior of the fire and they continue to find small heat sources within the fire such as stump holes and piles of leaves and brush that have fire inside of them.

There is 4% of the exterior of the fire that is so steep and rugged that neither bulldozers or fire crews could cut line. This piece of the exterior was held utilizing aerial retardant application. Since there is still some heat in the interior of the fire and there is a small piece of line that does not have a physical barrier, the Los Padres National Forest has decided to keep the containment at 96% until they are absolutely sure the fire will not escape. This may take several weeks more of patrolling and putting out small hot spots in the interior of the fire.

June 28, 2016 at 10:48 AM

As of 8 AM on Monday, June 27, 2016, the Los Padres National Forest assumed sole command of the Sherpa Fire. The Incident Command Post is at the Los Padres Supervisor’s Office located at 6750 Navigator Way, Suite 150, Goleta, CA. A total of 142 people remain assigned to this incident, including 3 crews, 5 engines, 2 water tenders, and 2 helicopters. Demobilization of excess resources will continue for several days based on equipment needs.

Fire activity remained quiet through the night. No further growth was reported and remains at 7,474 acres. Due to the warm, dry weather conditions in the upper reaches of the fire, firefighters continue to find and extinguish smoldering fuels near the containment line. The public is strongly advised to avoid this area due to public and firefighter safety.

Achieving full containment is challenging as steep, rugged terrain inhibits firefighter access in this area. Daily flights and infrared mapping are identifying hot spots that ground crews are monitoring, while inaccessible areas of heat are being mitigated with water dropping helicopters. The estimated containment date is now July 7.

Suppression repair work will continue and BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response) rehabilitation plans are being developed.

El Capitan State Beach will remain closed at least through July 15. North Refugio Road is closed from the Santa Ynez River to West Camino Cielo Road. West Camino Cielo Road remains closed to the public.

During the first operational period of the incident four minor structures were destroyed on private land within the National Forest. These numbers were confirmed on June 26 and have been documented. The destroyed structures were two sheds and two outbuildings.


June 26, 2016 at 10:57 AM

Fire activity remained quiet through the night. No further growth was reported and remains at 7,474 acres. Hotspots on the northern perimeter were found yesterday and were extinguished. Firefighters will continue to monitor the area near the containment line. Suppression repair work will continue and BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response) rehabilitation plans are being developed.

El Capitan State Beach will remain closed at least through July 15. North Refugio Road is closed from the Santa Ynez River to West Camino Cielo Road. West Camino Cielo Road remains closed to the public.

El Capitan Ranch Road and Refugio State Beach are now open to the public.

Weather patterns continue with warm dry air at higher elevations and marine layer influence near the coast.

A total of 314 people remain assigned to this incident, including 7 crews, 13 engines, 8 water tenders, and 3 helicopters. Demobilization of excess resources will continue throughout the day.

The fire is under Unified Command Type 3 organization between USDA Forest Service, CAL FIRE, and the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. The Incident Command Post is located at the Los Padres NF, Supervisor’s Office, 6750 Navigator Way, Suite 150 in Goleta, CA.

At 8:00 AM tomorrow, management of the fire will transition from the Unified Command Type 3 organization to the Los Padres National Forest Type 3 organization.

June 25, 2016 at 9:28 AM

Completed fire line surrounds 93 % of the fire. The remaining uncontained fire lines are in the northeast portion, where the terrain is too steep and dangerous for crews to work. This area has significant fire retardant lines and will be carefully monitored. Firefighters continue to find and extinguish hot spots in the south and north ends of the fire edge; which are being extinguished. Two helicopters remain available for water dropping as needed to support the crews on the ground, a third is available for reconnaissance and infrared scanning.

June 24, 2016 at 7:07 AM

Overall fire behavior has resulted in minimal growth for the past three days which has provided fire fighters the ability to secure 93% The weather will change again today, as red flag conditions begin to take effect this evening. This will result in increasing temperatures and decreasing humidity, especially in the upper elevation areas. Details for the Red Flag Conditions

Completed fire line surrounds 93 % of the fire. The remaining uncontained fire lines are in the northeast portion, where the terrain is too steep and dangerous for crews to work, but there is no fire activity in this section. Firefighters continue to find iand extinguish hot spots in the interior near the fire edge. Two type 1 heavy helicopters remain available to drop water as needed to support the crews.

Evacuations: While the evacuation orders were lifted for the majority of the fire area; some restrictions and closures remain:

El Capitan Canyon will remain closed with a tentative reopening of 6/25/16.
Refugio Canyon, the area north of 1800 Refugio Canyon will remain under Mandatory Evacuation, with a tentative reopening of June 25. The road south of the 1800 block (also known as “The Narrows”) will be reduced to a WARNING area, but, closed to non-fire traffic between 7 to 9 a.m. and between 6 to 8 p.m. to allow safe passage of fire-fighting traffic.
Refugio State Beach will reopen to the public on Saturday, June 25.

A total of 772 people remain assigned to this incident, including 24 crews, 25 engines, 9 water tenders, and 3 helicopters. Demobilization of excess resources will continue tomorrow. The fire will be transitioning to a local incident management team at 0600 on 6/24/2016.

June 23, 2016 at 1:48 PM

Fire behavior has decreased because of an on-shore pattern bringing cool, moist air from the southwest.

Despite cooler temperatures and increasing relative humidity, the area above the marine layer continues to burn inside the upper drainages of the fire perimeter.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect Thursday to 6 a.m. Saturday for the Santa Barbara County Mountains because of increasing dryer temperatures and higher winds predicted. More accurate mapping of the fire area shows an overall decrease in total acreage

The decreased fire activity has enabled firefighters to create an effective perimeter line. Completed fire line surrounds the south and west flanks of the fire and most of the eastern portion. The remaining uncontained fire line is in the northeast corner due to extremely steep and inaccessible terrain; no smoke has been showing in this section.

Seven helicopters remain available to drop water as needed to support the crews. Several small spot fires were located and extinguished last night.

The Sherpa Fire will transition between from the Type 1 California Interagency Incident Command Team 4 to the Santa Barbara County Type 3 Team on Friday at 6 a.m. The Incident Command Post will move to the Los Padres NF, Supervisor’s Office, 6750 Navigator Way, Suite 150 in Goleta.

June 22, 2016 at 9:29 AM

Crews continue to make steady progress toward full suppression. Minimal fire activity observed over last 24 hours with scattered pockets of heat remaining within the burn area. No new burned acreage was reported overnight.

Firefighters continue to build and reinforce containment lines. Their efforts increased the overall containment to 89 percent. The priority for today and the next several days will be securing the fireline and mopping-up on the northeast corner of the fire. Securing the line is slow and difficult because it is remote and the terrain is steep.

Fire Weather: A return to more normal weather patterns has improved firefighting efforts as cooler and more humid conditions spread across the area. The early morning marine layer has created an inversion layer at about 700 foot elevation. Conditions above the inversion remain warm and dry.

Evacuations: Evacuation Warning areas opened for access today, June 22 at 5 a.m. This includes Calle Lippizana east to Farren Road, Las Llagas Canyon, Gato Canyon, Las Varas Canyon, Dos Pueblos Canyon and Eagle Canyon.

Mandatory Evacuation areas reduced to Warning areas today, June 22 at 5 a.m. Only landowners, residents and their farm laborers are allowed to enter areas designed as Evacuation Warning.

June 22, 2016 at 8:02 AM

Overall fire behavior has resulted in minimal growth for 48 hours. Weather has shifted to an on-shore pattern bringing cool moist air from the southwest, which has resulted in an increase in the fuel moistures and a decrease in potential fire activity.

Completed fire line surrounds the south and west flanks of the fire. On the east, line is complete on the lower slopes. The remaining uncontained firelines are in the northeast portion. Four Hotshot Crews were shuttled via helicopter into this very steep and rugged terrain on Tuesday to work construct containment line and extinguish hotspots near the fire’s edge. There area areas which are too steep and dangerous for these crews to work in, but there is no fire activity in this section. Three type 1 heavy helicopters remain available to drop water as needed to support the crews. One spot fire was located in the northeast portion of the fire yesterday which was mitigated by crews and aircraft.

Evacuations: While the evacuation orders were lifted for the majority of the fire area; some restrictions and closures remain:

El Capitan Canyon will remain closed with a tentative reopening of 6/25/16.

Refugio Canyon, the area north of 1800 Refugio Canyon will remain under Mandatory Evacuation, with a tentative reopening of June 25. The road south of the 1800 block (also known as “The Narrows”) will be reduced to a WARNING area, but, closed to non-fire traffic between 7 to 9 a.m. and between 6 to 8 p.m. to allow safe passage of fire-fighting traffic.

Refugio State Beach will reopen to the public on Saturday, June 25.

El Capitan State Beach will remain closed at least through July 15. This closure may extend beyond that date pending restoration of the water system damaged by the fire.

June 21, 2016 at 10:42 AM

Containment lines held throughout the night with additional progress made on the northeast corner of the fire, extreme heat and challenging terrain remain a factor within this area.

Interior burning of vegetation was observed within the fire perimeter throughout the evening.

Sundowner wind conditions will begin to give way to increasing onshore winds today. Temperatures remain above normal with lower relative humidity levels dominating the area.

Firefighters will continue to build and reinforce containment lines along the northern and eastern sides of the fire and along the West Camino Cielo Ridge. Aircraft continue to assist in providing coverage to those areas difficult to access. Retardant lines in place have been an essential factor in limiting the growth potential of uncontained areas of the fire.

June 21, 2016 at 7:05 AM

Overall fire behavior was moderate with little growth, yet the fire still has the potential to increase in activity and grow quickly. Aviation resources are being used to slow the fire growth in this area providing hand crews and dozers with the time needed to complete direct containment and secondary contingency lines.

Although a Red Flag Warning remains in effect until 10 a.m. today, the weather is beginning to moderate with onshore flows bringing cooler temperatures and higher humidity.

Highway 101 is currently open; residents and motorists may check current conditions on Highway 101 by clicking on the Department of Transportation.

Evacuations:
Mandatory Evacuation orders: remain in effect for Refugio Canyon, Venadito Canyon, Las Flores Canyon, El Capitan Canyon, El Capitan State Beach, El Capitan Ranch, and Canada de la Destiladera; and the area east of the Refugio burn area up to Calle Lippizana, near the equestrian center. Much of this area will be lowered to an Evacuation Warning at 5 a.m. Wednesday. Please see the article highlighted at the top of this page for details.

Evacuation Warning: is in place for the areas east of El Capitan Canyon to Farren Road; Las Llagas Canyon, Gato Canyon, Las Varas Canyon, Dos Pueblos Canyon, and Eagle Canyon · Fire department overnight priorities: 60 homes in Refugio Canyon, 80 homes in El Cap Ranch, Circle Bar B & “the Narrows”.

The Santa Barbara Red Cross has activated an evacuation shelter for those effected by the Sherpa Fire. which is located at the Wake Center within the Santa Barbara City College, 300 N. Turnpike Road in the city of Santa Barbara.

Evacuation Status to Change on June 22

Most mandatory evacuations within the Sherpa Fire (with the listed exceptions) will be reduced to evacuation warnings on June 22 at 5 a.m. Only landowners, residents and their farm laborers will be allowed to enter the following locations:

· El Capitan Canyon will remain closed with a tentative reopening of 6/25/16.

· In Refugio Canyon, the area north of 1800 Refugio Canyon will remain under evacuation, with a tentative reopening of June 25. The road south of the 1800 block (also known as “The Narrows”) will be closed to non-fire traffic between 7 to 9 a.m. and between 6 to 8 p.m. to allow safe passage of fire-fighting traffic.

· Venadito Canyon will be reduced to a warning.

· Canada de la Destiladera will be reduced to a warning.

· Las Flores Canyon and east of the Refugio burn area east to and including Calle Lippizana near the Equestrian Center will be reduced to a warning.

California Department of Parks and Recreation announced on June 20 that Refugio State Beach will reopen to the public on Saturday, June 25. El Capitan State Beach will remain closed at least through July 15. This closure may extend beyond that date pending restoration of the water system damaged by the fire.

All areas formally in evacuation warning status, including Calle Lippizana east to Farren Road, Las Llagas Canyon, Gato Canyon, Las Varas Canyon, Dos Pueblos Canyon and Eagle Canyon will reopen without restriction on June 22 at 5 p.m. The cancellation of evacuation orders are based on a variety of factors, including potential fire behavior and the re-establishment of crucial infrastructure. For additional re-population information, Santa Barbara County residents can call the 211 County Helpline or (800) 325-9604, or visit Santa Barbara County online at countyofsb.org.

June 20, 2016 at 8:26 AM

Last night’s winds from the north pushed fire activity into previously burned areas allowing crews to establish and reinforce containment lines.

Weather today will be hotter and drier than Sunday. There is a very high potential for active fire.

Firefighters will continue to work on building and reinforcing containment lines along the north and east sides of the fire and along the Camino Cielo Ridge.

Aggressive aerial operations by both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters are suppressing the edge of the fire and giving support to ground crews with water and retardant.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has implemented a temporary flight restriction for the airspace around the Sherpa Fire burn zone, including West Goleta and nearby incident command posts. This restriction applies to all manned and unmanned aircraft systems. Drones can pose a safety hazard and delay firefighting aviation operations.

Evacuations:

· Mandatory Evacuation orders: remain in effect for Refugio Canyon, Venadito Canyon, Las Flores Canyon, El Capitan Canyon, El Capitan State Beach, El Capitan Ranch, and Canada de la Destiladera; and the area east of the Refugio burn area up to Calle Lippizana, near the equestrian center.

· Evacuation Warning: is in place for the areas east of El Capitan Canyon to Farren Road; Las Llagas Canyon, Gato Canyon, Las Varas Canyon, Dos Pueblos Canyon, and Eagle Canyon

A Red Flag warning is in effect from through 10 a.m., Tuesday, June 21, 2016.

June 19, 2016 at 8:52 PM

Sundowner winds were observed over portions of the fire with gusts up to 55 mph. Sundowner conditions are expected to persist through Monday.

Crews were successful in protecting residential property in the El Capitan Canyon area, El Capitan State Park and along the Highway 101 corridor.

June 19, 2016 at 11:51 AM

Anticipated downhill (“sundowner”) winds were less than anticipated overnight. This resulted in little fire activity and the boundaries of the fire remained close to what they were yesterday. Today firefighters will continue to work on building and reinforcing containment lines along the north and east sides of the fire and along the Camino Cielo Ridge. Ground crews are being supported by air helicopters and air tankers. Crews will also be initiating contingency lines.

U.S. Highway 101 is open and was not closed last night. Fire activity along Highway 101 is continuously being evaluated by fire managers and the California Highway Patrol and may be closed if unsafe conditions occur.

The communities surrounding the Sherpa Fire can expect to see smoke throughout the day and increasing during the evening hours. Outdoor activities should be planned for times when smoke levels are low. Upslope winds occur during the day, which will often take smoke into higher elevations. In the evening these winds change direction and bring smoke back downslope.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has implemented a temporary flight restriction for the airspace around the Sherpa Fire burn zone, including West Goleta and nearby incident command posts. This restriction applies to all manned and unmanned aircraft systems. Drones can pose a safety hazard and delay firefighting aviation operations in the area.

Evacuations:
· Mandatory Evacuation orders: remain in effect for Refugio Canyon, Venadito Canyon, Las Flores Canyon, El Capitan Canyon, El Capitan State Beach, El Capitan Ranch, and Canada de la Destiladera; and the area east of the Refugio burn area up to Calle Lippizana, near the equestrian center.

· Evacuation Warning: is in place for the areas east of El Capitan Canyon to Farren Road; Las Llagas Canyon, Gato Canyon, Las Varas Canyon, Dos Pueblos Canyon, and Eagle Canyon

A Red Flag warning is in effect from 3 PM, Sunday, June 19, 2016, through 10 AM, Tuesday, June 21, 2016.

June 19, 2016 at 8:42 AM

Evacuations:

· Mandatory Evacuation orders: remain in effect for Refugio Canyon, Venadito Canyon, Las Flores Canyon, El Capitan Canyon, El Capitan State Beach, El Capitan Ranch, and Canada de la Destiladera; and the area east of the Refugio burn area up to Calle Lippizana, near the equestrian center.

· Evacuation Warning: is in place for the areas east of El Capitan Canyon to Farren Road; Las Llagas Canyon, Gato Canyon, Las Varas Canyon, Dos Pueblos Canyon, and Eagle Canyon

· Fire department overnight priorities: 60 homes in Refugio Canyon, 80 homes in El Cap Ranch, Circle Bar B & “the Narrows”

June 17, 2016 at 4:58 PM

The Sherpa fire has grown throughout the day to 5,866 acres, with containment now at 20%. A minor injury (laceration) occurred on the fire today. There is continued threat to structures, agricultural crops, state parks, and critical infrastructure including; communication sites, power lines, and Hwy 101 remains a concern. Evacuations remain in effect, with a significant commitment of air and ground resources.

June 17, 2016 at 9:50 AM

Fire crews stayed busy last night due to extreme downhill runs from the down-slope Sundower winds. Today firefighters will continue to work on building and reinforcing containment lines along the North and East sides of the fire, and along Highway 101.

Ground crews are being supported by helicopters and air tankers. Crews will also be initiating contingency lines.

Fire activity along Highway 101 is under continuous evaluation by fire managers and the California Highway Patrol. The Hwy may be closed again if the fire is determined to be a hazard to motorist.

The communities surrounding the Sherpa Fire can expect to see smoke throughout the day, which will increase during the evening hours. Outdoor activities should be planned for times when smoke levels are low. Upslope winds occur during the day, which will often take smoke into higher elevations. In the evening these winds change direction and bring smoke back downslope. For more information about smoke impacts please visit the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District at www.OurAir.org .

June 17, 2016 at 7:24 AM

The fire is being managed under unified command by the Us Forest Service, Cal Fire, and Santa Barbara County Fire Department. The fire has exhibited extremely fast downhill runs during evening and overnight hours due to down-slope sundowner winds. The fire once again impacted Highway 101 which was closed from Buellton to Winchester Dr. this portion of the highway was opened at 0400 this morning. It is anticipated that this type of fire behavior will continue each night as long as sundowner winds continue. Crews were successfully able to protect residential property in the El Capitan canyon area, and El Capitan state beach. Southern Pacific railway was opened to traffic at 2300 hours last night.

Gusty sundowner winds are expected each afternoon through early morning will continue through the weekend. The sundowners could possibly peak in intensity Saturday evening. Relative humidities are expected to remain mild, generally above 30% with good overnight recoveries. Significantly hotter and drier weather expected beginning Sunday.

June 17, 2016 at 7:11 AM

HWY 101 has reopened, be aware of smoke flames and ash.

June 16, 2016 at 8:43 AM

Highway 101, from Buellton to Goleta at Winchester Canyon was reopened this morning.

Threat to an oil refinery, Hwy 101, Broadcast Peak major communication towers, and California State Parks.
Type 2 IMT has been ordered.
2 VLATs assigned
Evacuations remain in place.
Commitment of Federal air and ground resources.

The fire is wind driven and moving towards the ocean. Currently, mandatory evacuations are underway for the areas of Refugio Canyon, Las Flores, Venadito, El Capitan Campground, El Capitan State Park, Ocean Mesa at El Capitan State Park and Refugio Campground.

An evacuation center has been set up at the Wake Center, 300 N. Turnpike Road, Goleta, CA and for large animals, at the Earl Warren Showgrounds,

A second evacuation center has been set up at Santa Ynez Union High School, located at 2976 E. Highway 246 in Santa Ynez.