Whittier, Santa Barbara County

In Contained California Fires by YubaNet

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  • Incident Name: Whittier, Santa Barbara County
  • State: CA
  • Lead Agency: LPF
  • Size (acres): 18,430
  • Percent Contained: 87%
  • Estimate of Containment: unknown
  • Personnel: 76
  • Structures Destroyed: 46

Whittier, Los Padres NF.  Eleven miles northeast of Goleta, CA. Chaparral and brush. Minimal fire behavior. Road, area and trail closures in effect.

July 28, 2017 at 8:26 AM

The incident command post has been moved to Los Prietos Ranger Station. Crews will continue to mop-up, patrol and improving existing lines. Crews will also continue to conduct suppression repair.

July 25, 2017 at 7:14 AM

No significant fire activity is expected today. There are still some isolated pockets of heat and unburned islands within the fire perimeter, but no forward progression is likely.

Personnel are working on patrol, mop-up and suppression repair throughout the fire area. Repairs include backhaul of equipment and construction of water bars for erosion control on dozer lines and roads. Crews continue working in the front country to construct and improve fire line.

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team has begun their assessment. The team will evaluate the burned area watersheds and identify emergency treatments necessary to protect sensitive resources.

July 23, 2017 at 9:25 AM

No significant fire activity is expected today. There are still some isolated pockets of heat and unburned islands within the fire perimeter, but no forward progression is likely. Last night was the last shift of night operations.

Crews are continuing work in the front country to construct and improve fire line. Personnel are also working on patrol, mop-up and suppression repair throughout the fire area. Repairs include backhaul of equipment and construction of water bars for erosion control. The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team will begin their assessment this week. The team will evaluate the burned area watersheds and identify emergency treatments necessary to protect sensitive resources.

All Whittier Fire Evacuations Lifted

The following Evacuation Warning has been lifted:

· Calle Real north to West Camino Cielo, from Winchester Canyon Road on the east to El Capitan Ranch Road on the west.

The following road closure remains in place:

· West Camino Cielo Road, between Refugio Road and the Winchester Gun Club.

July 21, 2017 at 8:40 AM

Minimal fire activity is expected today. Visible fire last night was well within the perimeter, near Condor Peak. Fire may be seen again tonight within the burn area. Interior islands may continue to burn today, but no forward progression is likely to occur.

Crews are continuing work in the front country to construct direct fire line. On all other sections of the fire, personnel are working on patrol, mop up and suppression repair. Repairs include backhaul of equipment and construction of water bars for erosion control.

As Whittier Fire activity winds down, some fire assets are being reassigned to other fires. It is early in the fire season; all residents in the evacuation warning area should remain vigilant and prepared.

July 21, 2017 at 6:55 AM

On the eastern and western edges of the fire, no forward fire progression is expected. Interior islands will continue to burn and rollout, hot material rolling across the line, could challenge containment. Along the frontcountry, the fire continues to be in a backing alignment, moving slowly downslope. Grass will continue to be the primary carrier of the fire as grass fuel loads are three times their average this season. Minimal fire spread is expected in the next 24 hours. Along the containment lines, crews are continuing to work on mop-up and suppression repair. Resource Advisors are in place to map and protect sensitive natural and cultural resources within the areas affected by the fire. All equipment that is no longer needed is being retrieved, cleaned, and refurbished for use on future incidents. The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team will be here next week to begin their work. As Whittier Fire activity winds down, some fire assets are being reassigned to other fires. It is early in the fire season, so all residents should remain vigilant and prepared.

July 20, 2017 at 7:37 AM

On the western edge, fire crews increased containment yesterday and today. The fire continues to creep slowly downhill. Fire and smoke may be visible this evening along the southern edge until the marine layer settles. Firefighters will continue constructing line as the heavy marine layer slows the fire’s progression. Firefighters are attacking the fire head-on where safe to do so, in addition to using targeted water drops on hotspots. Improvement of primary and secondary bulldozer line continues. The northern edge is being patrolled and mopped-up and the line is holding. Firefighters are beginning assessments and repairs in areas impacted by fire suppression operations. On the eastern edge, fire crews are working to improve the containment line in Bear Creek Canyon. Fire crews will construct direct fireline; however, where steep and inaccessible, fire retardant will be put in by aircraft to slow the fire’s spread.

July 19, 2017 at 9:19 AM

From the communities northwest of the fire, light smoke was visible yesterday. On the western edge, fire crews increased containment yesterday and overnight. The fire is creeping slowly downhill, with firefighters attacking the fire head on where safe to do so using targeted water drops on hotspots. Construction of primary and secondary bulldozer line continues. The northern edge is in patrol and mop-up as lines continues to hold with suppression repair beginning. On the eastern edge, fire crews are working to improve the containment line in Bear Creek Canyon. Along the southern edge, the fire grew approximately sixty acres yesterday. Firefighters will continue constructing line as the heavy marine layer slows the fire’s progression downslope. Where safe to do so, fire crews will construct direct fireline; however, where steep and inaccessible, fire retardant will be put via aircraft to further slow the fire’s spread. Water-dropping helicopters and fixed-wing air tankers are supporting crews as needed to help cool hot spots.

July 18, 2017 at 10:10 AM

Improving weather conditions on the south side of the Whittier Fire have created an opportunity for firefighters to safely begin constructing fireline directly on the fire’s edge. Because of the reduced threat and improving conditions, the changes listed below are effective immediately:

The following area has been reduced to an Evacuation Warning:
Calle Real north to West Camino Cielo, from Winchester Canyon Road on the east, to El Capitan Ranch Road on the west. This includes all roads and trails within the area of the order

The following area remains in an Evacuation Warning:
Cachuma Village

The following road closure remains in place:
West Camino Cielo, from Winchester Gun Club on the east side, to Refugio Road on the west side.
Wagon Wheel, Winchester Commons and Langlo Ranch Road are not in the Evacuation Warning area.

July 17, 2017 at 10:32 AM

Firefighters are making progress battling the Whittier Fire. The threat level on the east side of the fire has been reduced significantly. With conditions improving, the changes listed below are effective immediately.

The following Evacuation Warning has been lifted:

Paradise Road is open

The following Evacuation Orders have been lifted:

West Camino Cielo is open to the Winchester Gun Club, including Kinevan Road
Rosario Park, all of Stagecoach Road and Cold Springs are open

The following Evacuation Warning remains valid:

· Cachuma Village

The following Evacuation Orders remain valid:

· West Camino Cielo from the Winchester Gun Club to Refugio Road

· Calle Real north to West Camino Cielo, from Winchester Canyon Road on the east to El Capitan Ranch Road on the west. This includes all roads and trails within the area of the order

July 17, 2017 at 9:49 AM

Highway 154 is open. The following evacuation orders have been reduced to evacuation warnings: Paradise Road from Highway The fire is smoldering on the northern flank. On the eastern and western sides of the fire, expect some flanking runs as the main fire backs into drainage bottoms and aligns with slopes. Tactical firing operations may be used to eliminate unburned fuels near containment lines. The eastern side of the fire is established in the bottom of Bear Creek; however, the fire has not crossed the creek. Structure defense crews are in place at the Cold Springs Tavern which remains in the Mandatory Evacuation Order. Fire is backing down the southern slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Helicopters and fixed-wing air tankers are supporting ground crews as needed to help cool hot spots. 154 to the first river crossing; and Cachuma Village. All other evacuation orders are in effect.

Damage Assessment: Damage assessment teams using new software technology have updated the number of structures damaged or destroyed during the early hours of the fire. The Whittier Fire incident management team would like to commend the damage assessment efforts of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management with regard to their efficient and ongoing operations.

July 17, 2017 at 7:06 AM

Whittier Fire officials will provide an update on the Whittier fire at 1130 a.m. Monday July 17, 2017 at the command post located at Dos Pueblos High School, 7266 Alameda Ave, Goleta, CA.

Representatives from the USFS and CAL FIRE will be present along with Incident Commander Mark Von Tillow, who will provide an overview and briefing on the present status of the Whittier Fire.

ASL interpretation (sign language) and Spanish translation will be made available.

Firefighters from the US Forest Service, Santa Barbara County Fire, CAL FIRE and many other local agencies are working to contain the 18,311 acre wildfire that began Saturday along Highway 154 in the Lake Cachuma area. California Interagency Incident Command Team Three, lead by Incident Commander Mark von Tillow, has assumed command of the Whittier Fire, which is burning on local, state, and federal lands within the Santa Ynez mountains north of Goleta, CA

Current Situation: The fire is creeping downslope on the southern, eastern and western perimeters of the fire. Crews completed a few small tactical firing operation to eliminate unburned fuels near containment lines. The eastern side of the fire is established in Bear Creek and crews are working to keep it on the western side of the canyon. The western perimeter of the fire is backing into established containment lines. Helicopters and fixed-wing air tankers are supporting ground crews as needed to help cool hot spots.

Damage Assessment: Damage assessment teams have updated the number of structures damaged or destroyed. These structures were damaged or destroyed during the early hours of the fire. Damage assessment teams, using new software technology, completed the assessment. The incident would like to commend the damage assessment efforts of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management with regard to their efficient and ongoing operations. 1 residence and 6 structures were damaged; 16 residences and 30 structures were destroyed. Other structures would include buildings such as detached garages, barns, bunkhouses, or other improvements.

Weather: The coastal section of the fire will see increasing onshore winds allowing some cooling on Monday and Tuesday. Dry and warm air will remain over the region today and Monday with temperatures and humidity trends showing little change over the mountains. Coastal areas of the fire will see increasing onshore winds, allowing for some cooling on Monday and Tuesday. Temperatures near Santa Ynez peak are expected to reach 79.

Fire Weather: Temp: 95-101 Relative Humidity: 10-15% Winds: 3-6 and gusts to 17 mph

Effective immediately the following closure has been lifted:
Highway 154, from Cathedral Oaks Road on the east side, to Armour Ranch Road on the west
The following Evacuation Orders have been reduced to an Evacuation Warning:
Paradise Road, from Highway 154 to the first river crossing.
Cachuma Village

The following Evacuation Orders remain valid:

West Camino Cielo at Highway 154 to Winchester Gun Club and Kinevan Road
Rosario Park and all of Stagecoach Road
All of Winchester Canyon Road excluding the community of Wagon Wheel, Langlo Ranch Road and Winchester Commons, west to El Capitan Ranch Road
Calle Real north to West Camino Cielo, from Winchester Canyon Road on the east to El Capitan Ranch Road on the west. This includes all roads and trails within the area of the order
If you are in this area you are advised to leave immediately. If you are not in this area, avoid the area and Highway 154 entirely. Highway 154 is closed from 246 to Foothill Road.

Evacuation Shelter Information:
The south evacuation shelter is open at San Marcos High School, 4750 Hollister Ave., Goleta.
For animal evacuation questions and offers of assistance, call the Animal Services hotline at (805) 681-4332.
On the south side, pet owners with small animals that can be evacuated may be brought to the Santa Barbara Humane Society at 5399 Overpass Road, Santa Barbara.
For the most recent updates, you can also visit the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management

Roads and Highways: All roads affected by the above Evacuation Orders are closed. Highway 154 has been reopened as of 5 PM on July 16, 2017.

Vegetation: The slope that the fire is primarily burning on is comprised of oak trees and brush that has not burned since the Refugio Fire in 1955. Over the last several years these fuels have been stressed by the exceptional drought conditions and a high percentage of the fuel bed is dead. The combination of old, dry fuels with a newly cured heavy grass crop contributed to the rapid growth of this fire. Large, old oak trees are continuing to burn well after the fire has past, leaving hazardous snags along highways and firelines.

July 16, 2017 at 9:01 AM

Current Situation: The fire continues to creep down slope on the eastern, western and southern edges of the fire. Firefighters expect flanking runs and some short intense burning as the fire backs into drainage bottoms and aligns with slopes. The eastern side of the fire is established in Bear Creek so expect slope driven runs if it crosses the drainage. The western side of the fire should continue backing into developed containment lines and the Sherpa fire scar. Air attack continues today to support ground crews and to knock down hot spots. Warmer temperatures, lower humidity and winds will increase fire activity as the day progresses.

Damage Assessment: Damage assessment teams have updated the number of structures damaged or destroyed. These structures were damaged or destroyed during the early hours of the fire. Damage assessment teams using new software technology, completed the assessment. The incident would like to commend the damage assessment efforts of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management with regard to their efficient and ongoing operations.

Structures burned: 17 residences, 36 outbuildings

July 15, 2017 at 9:00 PM

Sundowner winds are in the forecast tonight and have the possibility of extending the southern edge of the fire into the foothills. Throughout the day, the fire continued to creep down slope on the eastern, western and southern edges of the fire. Crews working on the eastern edge of the fire are working to keep the fire from reaching Bear Creek. The southwestern corner of the fire burned into the Sherpa fire (2016) burn area and stalled out due to lack of fuels. Air attack continued today to support ground crews and to knock down hot spots. Warmer temperatures, lower humidity and winds will increase fire activity tonight.

Weather Event: The Sundowner winds forecasted for this evening will be slightly stronger than last night’s winds. These winds have the possibility of pushing the fire towards populated areas above Goleta. Should the Sundowner winds develop tonight, gusts are predicted to reach 35 mph. The marine level is expected to be 400 feet lower than yesterday. Tonight it will be warmer and dryer.

Fire Weather: Temperatures: 68-75 Relative Humidity: 20-26% Winds: 10-20 and gusts to 35 MPH

Information Sources: A fire information call center is staffed and available to answer questions from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. each day. Register at www.AwareAndPrepare.org to receive emergency alerts from Santa Barbara County. If we can’t reach you, we can’t alert you.

Closure: Highway 154 is closed from Highway 246 to Foothill Road (Highway 192).

Mandatory Evacuations: Highway 154 from Armour Ranch (west side) to Paradise Road (east side), West Camino Cielo at Highway 154 to Winchester Gun Club, Kinevan Road. All of Winchester Canyon Road excluding the community of Wagon Wheel, Langlo Ranch Road and Winchester Commons west to El Capitan Ranch Road. Calle Real north to West Camino Cielo from Winchester Canyon Rd on the east to El Capitan Ranch Road on the west. Paradise Canyon Road from Highway 154 east to the first river crossing. Rosario Park and all of Stagecoach Road. Clarification: Farren Road and Las Varas Canyon Road are included in the Evacuation Order area issued today.

Evacuation Shelters: The American Red Cross has opened evacuation shelters at San Marcos High School, 4750 Hollister Ave., Goleta. The Santa Ynez shelter is prepared to open if necessary.

Animal Evacuation: Questions and offers of assistance, call the Animal Services Hotline at (805) 681-4332. The Santa Barbara Humane Society, 5399 Overpass Road, Santa Barbara, is available to assist evacuees with small animals.

Air Quality: The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District has issued a health warning for smoke and ash for the entire county that remain in effect through Monday. To check on the air quality visit the website: www.ourair.org/todays-air-quality

July 15, 2017 at 12:52 PM

Fire grew significantly overnight on the south western flank, pushed by Sundowner winds. The containment percentage decreased to 35% because of the alignment of higher temperatures, lower humidity and mild Sundowner winds. These three weather conditions aligned with topography and the fire perimeter expanded southward. The fire continues burning in an area above the community of Goleta and crews continue to build containment and contingency lines to hold the fire in check. The east and west flanks of the fire continue to burn towards established containment lines. Yesterday’s evacuation orders are still in place.

High pressure, dry air will remain over the area today creating conditions for gusty and locally strong Sundowner winds. Sundowner winds are predicted Saturday evening and may push the fire towards populated areas. Gusts are forecasted to reach 35 mph should the Sundowners develop. The increase in temperature and lower humidity will increase fire activity today and into tonight.

Fire Weather: Temperatures: 95-101 Relative Humidity: 10-15% Winds: 10-15 and gusts to 35 MPH.

Mandatory Evacuations: Highway 154 from Armour Ranch (west side) to Paradise Road (east side), West Camino Cielo at Highway 154 to Winchester Gun Club, Kinevan Road. All of Winchester Canyon Road excluding the community of Wagon Wheel, Langlo Ranch Road and Winchester Commons west to El Capitan Ranch Road. Calle Real north to West Camino Cielo from Winchester Canyon Rd on the east to El Capitan Ranch Road on the west. Paradise Canyon Road from Highway 154 east to the first river crossing. Rosario Park and all of Stagecoach Road. Clarification: Farren Road and Las Varas Canyon Road are included in the Evacuation Order area issued today.

Evacuation Shelters: The American Red Cross has opened evacuation shelters at San Marcos High School, 4750 Hollister Ave., Goleta. The Santa Ynez shelter is prepared to open if necessary.

Animal Evacuation: Questions and offers of assistance, call the Animal Services Hotline at (805) 681-4332. The Santa Barbara Humane Society, 5399 Overpass Road, Santa Barbara, is available to assist evacuees with small animals.

July 15, 2017 at 8:54 AM

Firefighters from the US Forest Service, Santa Barbara County Fire, CALFIRE and many other local agencies are working to contain the 17,364 acre wildfire that began Saturday along Highway 154 in the Lake Cachuma area. The fire is currently 35% contained. The drop in containment percentage is due to growth on the fire, the miles of contained fire line did not decrease. California Interagency Incident Command Team Three, lead by Incident Commander Mark von Tillow, has assumed command of the Whittier Fire. Additional firefighter will be arriving today after having completed assignments on other fires. There are now a total of 1,610 firefighters assigned, including 103 Fire Engines, 23 Hand-crews, 18 Dozers, 14 Helicopters, and 22 Water Tenders. Fixed-wing tankers are available from local air bases as needed to support this incident.

Current Situation: Fire behavior has increased on three sides of the fire burning above the community of Goleta and new evacuation orders are in place. The east and west portions of the fire experienced flanking and spotting fire activity. The southern flank of the fire had an active head fire with mid‐range spotting. The north side of the fire was predominately smoldering. Crews continue to increase containment by building direct lines and reinforcing bulldozer lines on the east and west edges of the fire. Crews are using a machine called a masticator that crushes and grinds vegetation to remove the large amounts of dead fuel from a multi‐year drought. The fire is burning in an area abovethe community of Goleta that has not burned since 1955. Approximately 2,700 people are currently evacuated.

Planning for structure defense if winds materialize, Continue building direct lines, indirect line construction, & contingency line construction, mop up and improve existing line. Continue assessment of suppression repair needs. Continue damage assessment and prepare report.

Projected Incident Activity

Fire will continue to grow on the west, south, and east side. Smoke will be visible from surrounding communities.

Firefighters will engage the fire where the probability of success is high and where safety can be assured.

July 14, 2017 at 7:24 PM

The weather pattern is changing and the fire, burning actively, is highly visible in many areas. There are several reports of motorists stopping on roads and highways to view the fire. The increased traffic on Highway 101 due to the closure of Highway 154 and the slowing due to motorists looking at the fire is causing significant delays. Please avoid northbound Highway 101 if possible.

The American Red Cross is operating an evacuation center located at San Marcos High School, 4750 Hollister Avenue, Goleta, CA. This center will accept small pets for those who are residing there. The Santa Barbara Humane Society is also available to assist evacuees with small animals.

July 14, 2017 at 5:14 PM

New Evacuation Orders Ordered on Whittier Fire – Effective Immediately.

Effective immediately the following areas are under an Evacuation Order:
Highway I54 from Armour Ranch Road on the west to Paradise Road on the east.

Paradise Road from 154 east to the first river crossing.
W. Camino Cielo from the Winchester Gun Club east to Highway 154, Kinevan Road, including the Rosario Park and all of Stagecoach Road.
All of Winchester Canyon Road excluding the community of Wagon Wheel and Langlo Ranch Road, west to El Capitan Ranch Road

Calle Real north to West Camino Cielo from Winchester Canyon Rd on the East to El Capitan Ranch Road on the west.

If you are in this area you are advised to leave immediately. If you are not in this area, avoid the area and Highway 154 entirely. Highway 154 is closed from 246 to Foothill Road.

Clarification:
Farren Road and Las Varas Canyon Road are included in the Evacuation Order area issued today, 7/14/17, at 11:00 a.m.
Highway 101 remains open

July 14, 2017 at 1:26 PM

Notice of Evacuation Order for Whittier Fire

Under the advice of Whittier Fire Incident Commanders, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office has issued an Evacuation Order for areas in the Santa Barbara Front Country.

Effective immediately the following areas are an Evacuation Order:

All of Winchester Canyon Road excluding the community of Wagon Wheel and Langlo Ranch Road, west to El Capitan Ranch Road

Calle Real north to West Camino Cielo from Winchester Canyon Rd on the East to El Capitan Ranch Road on the west.

July 14, 2017 at 6:46 AM

Santa Barbara Fire is receiving an overwhelming number of 911 calls. The flare-up visible from the Goleta and Santa Barbara area is not a direct threat to communities or structures; it is currently 2 miles from homes. Emergency Services are aware of this and are actively monitoring the fire.

Rumors that powerlines are being currently being impacted are not accurate.

The Whittier Fire is currently actively burning below Santa Ynez peak. Flames are visible from many costal areas near Goleta and Santa Barbara. This flare up currently is not a direct threat to homes or communities. It is approximately 2 miles from communities. It is slowly backing down the mountainside. Firefighters are actively monitoring this area with Night Flight Aircraft. Crews are continuing to work on fire control lines on all areas of the fire tonight, including reinforcing dozer and hand lines along the front country area. Flames will be visible until late this evening when the marine layer returns

July 13, 2017 at 11:22 AM

Fire activity picked up a last night, especially in higher elevations on the east and west flanks of the fire. Last night crews took advantage of the cooler temperatures and used direct attack techniques to continue building a line around the fire. An active area near Santa Ynez Peak burned 400 acres, night flight aircraft were used to cool this area and other active areas of the fire. Today’s weather is expected to transition to warmer, dryer conditions. The marine layer will clear warming the area and lowering the relative humidity. A major concern are the forecasted Sundowner winds that could begin Friday evening. The southern edge of the fire above Goleta will see increased air tanker activity today as they continue to apply fire retardant in anticipation of Friday’s forecasted Sundowners. Caltrans and PG&E are working on repairing the highway and the electrical power infrastructure along highway 154. Two firefighters were injured yesterday, one was from a fall and the other suffered a heat related injury, both are back working on the line.

Fire Behavior: The marine influence with high humidity is expected to clear brining higher temperatures and lower relative humidity to the area. Expect an increase in fire activity as the day progresses. East and west edges of the fire are expected to experience an increase in fire activity. The Southern fire perimeter continues to be held by cool onshore winds.

Fire Weather: Wind: Light and Variable Temp: 87‐93 Humidity: 27‐32%

Closure: Highway 154 is closed from Highway 246 to Foothill Road.

Mandatory Evacuations: Highway 154 from Armour Ranch (west side) to Paradise Road (east side), West Camino Cielo at Highway 154 to Winchester Gun Club, Kinevan Road.

Evacuation Warning: Las Varas Canyon east to Winchester Canyon and from Highway 101 north to West Camino Cielo, Paradise Road from Highway 154 to the first river crossing, Farren Road.

Evacuation Shelters: The American Red Cross has opened evacuation shelters at San Marcos High School, 4750 Hollister Ave., Goleta. The Santa Ynez shelter is prepared to open if necessary. For animal evacuation questions and offers of assistance, call the Animal Services hotline at (805) 681‐4332. The Santa Barbara Humane Society, 5399 Overpass Road, Santa Barbara, is available to assist evacuees with small animals.

July 12, 2017 at 9:35 PM

Fire activity slowed as cooler temps and higher humidity moved over the fire area today. Crews and engines took advantage building direct lines and reinforcing dozer lines to protecting the threatened Southern California Edison lines. On the northern fire edge, crews are patrolling the fireline, and extinguish hot spots. Caltrans crews began assessing repair needs along Hwy 154. To the west, line has been constructed from Hwy 154 to the rock quarry, and crews are making plans for indirect firelines around the steep canyons to connect fireline to Camino Ridge. Rollout on steep terrain continues to create small uphill runs on the west perimeter of the fire. The southern edge of the fire was very quiet as marine influence kept fuels cool. On the Goleta front country, ranch roads are being used to establish a fire break above homes and agricultural properties. Loose rocks, poison oak and steep terrain continues to hamper firefighter safety.

Fire Behavior: A marine influence with high humidity slowed fire growth for much of the day. The east and west edges of the fire did burn actively in the late afternoon. Southern fire perimeter continues to be held by cool onshore winds.

Fire Weather: Wind: Light and Variable Temp: 58-63 Humidity: 80-85%

Closure: Highway 154 is closed from Highway 246 to Foothill Road.

July 12, 2017 at 6:55 AM

Firefighters from the US Forest Service, Santa Barbara County Fire, CALFIRE and many other local agencies are working to contain the 11,920 acre wildfire that began Saturday along Highway 154 in the Lake Cachuma area. The fire is currently 48% contained. A Type 1 Incident Management Team has assumed command of the Whittier Fire. Many additional firefighting resources have arrived to this incident throughout the day. There are now a total of 765 firefighters assigned, including 62 Fire Engines, 13 Hand-crews, 8 Dozers, 10 Helicopters, and 2 Water Tenders. Fixed-wing tankers are available from local air bases as needed.

A heavy marine layer along the coast combined with strategic placement of retardant lines along the southern slope of the Santa Ynez Mountains continues to slow fire growth to the south. A mobile retardant base has been set-up to allow helicopters to apply retardant to specific areas as hot spots are identified along the southern edge of the fire. Firefighters are working closely with local ranchers and area residents to determine the most ideal location for fire line construction along the north edge of Goleta. The east side of the fire saw fire growth as the fire backed down into Hot Springs Canyon, and then made a run up the west facing slope of the canyon. Crews have lines to the east of the fires edge. On the west side, the fire continues to back against the winds, however growth has been slow. Crews are scouting for locations for dozer lines to build indirect lines. Firefighters are working closely with local ranchers and area residents to determine the most ideal location for fire line construction along the north edge of Goleta. Crews continue to patrol and monitor the north side of the fire, extinguishing hot spots and watching for hazards along the road.

Firefighter and public safety remains the top priority. Firefighters will only engage the fire where the probability of success is high and the threat to life and safety remains low.

July 10, 2017 at 9:02 PM

Today as the weather pattern shifted back to an onshore flow smoke from the fire pushed over the burn area into the east Santa Ynez Valley and San Marcos Pass. As smoke shaded the area fire behavior decreased significantly creating an opportunity for firefighters build containment line directly on the fire’s edge. Bulldozers are working the east flank from the near Winchester Gun Club toward Hwy. 154. On the west side of the fire firefighters improved initial firelines and scouted for an area to complete the line up to the Santa Ynez Ridge. Near Lake Cachuma, firefighters were able to declare a portion of the fireline contained. Fire managers continue to work with ranchers and property owners to plan construction of line along the base of the foothills. The fire has crossed the ridgeline and is backing downslope over Gato, Winchester and Glen Annie Canyons but higher humidity levels have slowed the rate of spread.

Vegetation: The slope that the fire is primarily burning on is comprised of Oak trees and brush that has not burned since the Refugio Fire in 1955. Over the last several years these fuels have been stressed by the exceptional drought conditions and a high percentage of the fuel bed is dead. The combination of old, dry fuels with a newly cured heavy grass crop contributed to the rapid growth of this fire.

July 10, 2017 at 9:55 AM

Current Situation: The fire made a prolonged run to the west yesterday as winds from a collapsing thunderstorm 20 miles away impacted the area. Weather and fuel conditions are a big factor in the decision process relating to the Whittier Fire tactics. Firefighters are attacking the fire directly on the edge of the burn where possible. Where access is dangerous due to the potential of falling trees, difficult terrain or heavy fuels they are taking a more cautious approach and using indirect methods of attack. In the front country fire managers are working with property owners and planning a fuel break along the base of the foothills. The fire has crossed the ridgeline over Gato, Winchester and Glen Annie Canyons and is slowly backing down the slope. Several helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, including the DC-10 Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) are assisting with water and retardant drops.

Vegetation: The slope that the fire is primarily burning on is comprised of Oak trees and brush that has not burned since the Refugio Fire in 1955. Over the last several years these fuels have been stressed by the exceptional drought conditions and a high percentage of the fuel bed is dead. The combination of old, dry fuels with a newly cured heavy grass crop contributed to the rapid growth of this fire.

Fire Weather: Temp. 80-85, Humidity 30-40%, Wind light and variable, Wind from thunderstorms may impact fire

Closure: Highway 154 is closed from Highway 246 to Foothill Road.

Mandatory Evacuations: Highway 154 from Armour Ranch (west side) to Paradise Road (east side), West Camino Cielo at Highway 154 to Winchester Gun Club, Kinevan Road, Farren Road.

Evacuation Warning: Las Varas Canyon east to Winchester Canyon and from Highway 101 north to West Camino Cielo, Paradise Road from Highway 154 to the first river crossing.

Evacuation Shelters: The American Red Cross has opened evacuation shelters at San Marcos High School, 4750 Hollister Ave., Goleta, and Santa Ynez Elementary, 3325 Pine Street, Santa Ynez.

For animal evacuation questions and offers of assistance, call the Animal Services hotline at (805) 681-4332. The Santa Barbara Humane Society, 5399 Overpass Road, Santa Barbara, is available to assist evacuees with small animals.

Values to be Protected: Commercial and residential structures, SCE distribution lines, communications infrastructure, cultural archeological sites.

Smoke: Smoke from the Whittier fire will continue to impact air quality along the coast and the Santa Ynez Valley.

Drones: Drones pose a serious risk to firefighting and can cause air operations to cease. The public is reminded that “If you fly, we can’t!”

July 10, 2017 at 8:05 AM

A Type 1 Incident Management Team has assumed command of the Whittier Fire. Many additional firefighting resources have arrived to this incident throughout the day, including a large number of Fire Engines, Water Tenders, Hotshot and Hand Crews, and Aircraft.

The fire continues to slowly back down the Southern slope of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The DC-10’s (VLAT’s) and other tankers are applying heavy retardant lines, used to slow the fire’s progression. Sundowner winds are not forecast in the coming days, and marine influence along the coast will prevail. Firefighters are working closely with local ranchers and area residents to determine the most ideal location for fire line construction along the north edge of Goleta.

Firefighters are working to construct direct fireline on the Northern side of the Santa Ynez Mountains where safe to do so. Firefighter and public safety remains the top priority. Firefighters will only engage the fire where the probability of success is high and the threat to life and safety remains low.

July 9, 2017 at 6:33 PM

Map Santa Barbara County

Mandatory Evacuation Order has been issued for:

Highway I54 from Armour Ranch Road on the west to Paradise Road on the east.
W. Camino Cielo from the Winchester Gun Club east to Highway 154
Kinevan Road

If you are in this area you are advised to leave immediately. If you are not in this area, avoid the area and Highway 154 entirely. Highway 154 is closed from 246 to Foothill Road.

An Evacuation Warning has been issued for:

Las Varas Canyon east to Winchester Canyon and from Highway 101 North to W. Camino Cielo. (alerts sent to 315 phone lines at 9:50 p.m. on July 8th. These are phone lines and don’t necessarily translate into number of residences or people)
Paradise Road from 154 to the first river crossing.
Anyone in this area should be gathering family members, pets, important documents and irreplaceable items and be prepared to leave. People with special needs should evacuate now. Large animals should be evacuated now.

Evacuation Shelter Information:

The south evacuation shelter is open at San Marcos High School, 4750 Hollister Ave., Goleta.
A north evacuation shelter is open at Santa Ynez Elementary, 3325 Pine Street, Santa Ynez.
For animal evacuation questions and offers of assistance, call the Animal Services hotline at (805) 681-4332.
On the south side, pet owners with small animals that can be evacuated may be brought to the Santa Barbara Humane Society at 5399 Overpass Road, Santa Barbara.

July 9, 2017 at 9:35 AM

The Whittier Fire began on July 8th, and is burning along State Highway 154 in the Lake Cachuma Area. Firefighters from the US Forest Service, Santa Barbara County Fire, and many other local agencies are responding. It is currently estimated at 7,800 acres and 5% contained. Residents in the area should be aware of this fire, and read and heed the evacuation warnings below. A Type 1 Incident Management Team has been requested to manage this fire, and will be arriving today. The incident command post will be at Dos Pueblos High School.

Mandatory Evacuation Order has been issued for:

· Highway I54 from Armour Ranch Road on the west to Paradise Road on the east.

· W. Camino Cielo from the Winchester Gun Club east to Highway 154

· Kinevan Road

· Farren Road

If you are in this area you are advised to leave immediately. If you are not in this area, avoid the area and Highway 154 entirely. Highway 154 is closed from 246 to Foothill Road.

An Evacuation Warning has been issued for:

· Las Varas Canyon east to Winchester Canyon and from Highway 101 North to W. Camino Cielo.

· Paradise Road from 154 to the first river crossing.

Anyone in this area should be gathering family members, pets, important documents and irreplaceable items and be prepared to leave. People with special needs should evacuate now. Large animals should be evacuated now.

Evacuation Shelter Information:

The south evacuation shelter is open at San Marcos High School, 4750 Hollister Ave., Goleta.

A north evacuation shelter is open at Santa Ynez Elementary, 3325 Pine Street, Santa Ynez.

For animal evacuation questions and offers of assistance, call the Animal Services hotline at (805) 681-4332.

On the south side, pet owners with small animals that can be evacuated may be brought to the Santa Barbara Humane Society at 5399 Overpass Road, Santa Barbara.

Call the hotline for assistance with large animal evacuations.

Roads and Highways: Hwy 154 is closed from State Route 246 to Foothill Road.

Fire Weather: Temperatures are forecast to begin to moderate. The early morning marine layer benefited firefighting efforts.

July 9, 2017 at 7:20 AM

Mandatory Evacuation Order has been issued for:

Highway I54 from Armour Ranch Road on the west to Paradise Road on the east.
W. Camino Cielo from the Winchester Gun Club east to Highway 154
Kinevan Road

If you are in this area you are advised to leave immediately. If you are not in this area, avoid the area and Highway 154 entirely. Highway 154 is closed from 246 to Foothill Road.

An Evacuation Warning has been issued for:

Las Varas Canyon east to Winchester Canyon and from Highway 101 North to W. Camino Cielo. (alerts sent to 315 phone lines at 9:50 p.m. tonight. These are phone lines and don’t necessarily translate into number of residences or people)
Paradise Road from 154 to the first river crossing.
Anyone in this area should be gathering family members, pets, important documents and irreplaceable items and be prepared to leave. People with special needs should evacuate now. Large animals should be evacuated now.

Evacuation Shelter Information:

The south evacuation shelter is open at San Marcos High School, 4750 Hollister Ave., Goleta.

A north evacuation shelter is open at Santa Ynez Elementary, 3325 Pine Street, Santa Ynez.

For animal evacuation questions and offers of assistance, call the Animal Services hotline at (805) 681-4332.

On the south side, pet owners with small animals that can be evacuated may be brought to the Santa Barbara Humane Society at 5399 Overpass Road, Santa Barbara.

Call the hotline for assistance with large animal evacuations.

July 8, 2017 at 10:03 PM

CA IMT1 (von Tillow) has been mobilized with a tentative in brief at the LPF supervisors office in Goleta at 1500 tomorrow
Mandatory evacuations
Structures threatened
Highway 154 closed in both directions
No divert on aircraft continued into afternoon

Hwy 154 is closed from Hwy 246 to Route 192 in SB. Evacuation centers at San Marcos High School and Santa Ynez Elementary School.