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Fire at a glance (numbers)

  • Incident Name: Alisal, Santa Barbara
  • State: CA
  • Lead Agency: LPF
  • Size (acres): 16,962
  • Percent Contained: 97%
  • Estimate of Containment: October 25, 2021
  • Personnel: 298
  • Structures Destroyed: 6

Alisal, Los Padres NF, USFS. IMT 1 (CA Team 1). Twenty miles northwest of Santa Barbara, CA. Chaparral and grass. Minimal fire behavior with smoldering. Area, road and trail closures in effect.

October 22, 2021 at 11:27 AM

Yesterday

Firefighters completely secured north, east, south and most of the western edges of the fire. Crews continued monitoring isolated pockets for potential holdover heat and continued suppression repair in areas identified by Resource Advisors.

Today

Fire suppression efforts have transitioned to suppression repair, which are those actions taken to mitigate damages caused by fire suppression to minimize potential soil erosion. Repair includes removing hazard trees and repairing the hand and dozer fire lines, roads, trails, staging areas and drop points. Additionally, crews will backhaul equipment off the line at areas of lowest risk for fire activity to concentrate on suppression repair. A community meeting will be conducted tomorrow specifically for impacted communities.

Weather

Cooler weather and moister conditions are forecasted through the weekend. Gusty northerly winds up to 45 mph are likely by Saturday evening. A strong cold front sweeps through Sunday and Monday, with light rain arriving Sunday and heavier rain falling Sunday evening and Monday. Expect rainfall totals of one to two inches and the potential for minor mud and debris flows. 

Closures

Los Padres National Forest issued a closure of the Santa Barbara Ranger District in the area surrounding the fire. The closure expires Nov. 16, 2021. A map highlighting the closed area is at www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.

October 18, 2021 at 10:38 AM

Yesterday

The day saw minimal fire activity as a cold front pushed cooler weather and increased moisture levels through the area. Crews again made more progress on containing the fire. While there was a small slop over the perimeter along the northwest edge near Nojoqui Creek, super-scooper fixed-wing aircraft dropped water on it and firefighters quickly secured the flames. To the southern edge of the fire motorists along California Highway 101 are reminded to give firefighters and their equipment wide berth when passing.

Today

Fire suppression efforts begin to transition to repair. Few hot spots remain. Today’s priority is to contain patches of heat along the northwest edge of the fire and continue to keep the fire within the current footprint.

Weather

Expect cooler temperatures, high humidity levels and wind gusts from the north-northwest up to 40 mph today. A slight warming and drying trend is forecasted for Tuesday through Friday. Winds continue pushing over the area from the south with little potential to create a flare-up or spot fire.

Evacuations

The Evacuation Order for the area west of Arroyo Hondo to intersection of Hwy 101 and Hwy 1, the Arroyo Hondo Canyon and Refugio Canyon, and the area between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo has been canceled. Take caution when returning home as emergency personnel remain in the area. Southern California Edison (SCE) is in the process of replacing power poles and will continue inspections via helicopters throughout the week. This area is restricted to residents only. Others without proof of residency or official business in the area may be cited by law enforcement.

October 17, 2021 at 10:43 AM

Yesterday 

Warm temperatures mixed with very dry and windy conditions resulted in an increase in isolated fire activity. A spot fire approximately an acre and a half popped up outside a retardant line on the northwestern corner. Firefighters immediately contained it with dozer and hand lines while aircraft doused it with water. Crews mopped up containment lines near Reagan Ranch. Young fuels left behind by the 2016 Sherpa Fire have lent themselves to steady progress to the east, where rugged terrain pose challenges to firefighters and their heavy equipment. Along California 101 — which reopened Oct. 14 — firefighters fortified containment and continued mop-up efforts. Motorists along Hwy 101 are encouraged to give firefighters and their equipment wide berth when passing. Additionally, on the northeastern corner, an area less than an acre slopped over the perimeter, but crews constructed handline and flanked hose around it. 

Today 

Few hot spots remain. Today’s main priority is to contain patches of heat remaining to the northwest edge of the fire. Crews will also focus on holding the rest of the fire’s footprint. Crews will continue to use aviation assets as conditions allow.  

Weather 

Onshore flow will strengthen across the area, bringing cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity. Southerly and upvalley winds will prevail through today with gusts around 20 mph. Later this evening and into tomorrow, a dry cold front will sweep across the area, delivering even cooler temperatures and higher humidity. It will, however, also bring strong northwest to north winds to the fire with gusts up to 25-35 mph. 

Evacuations 

The Evacuation Warning for the area west of Highway 101, including Gaviota Beach and Hollister Ranch properties, has been cancelled. Take caution when returning home as emergency personnel remain in the area. Stay alert to changing conditions. 

October 15, 2021 at 7:39 AM

Both Hwy 101 and UPRR/Amtrak are open. Of the 439 structures that have been threatened, 3 residences and 2 other outbuildings destroyed. 1,731 personnel assigned to the fire.

Yesterday 

Fire crews made significant progress resulting in the reopening of California Highway 101 and the Union Pacific Railroad. Both had been shut down as a result of the fire’s spread. Firefighters began to mop-up around much of the fire, including Camino Cielo, Refugio Canyon and along Hwy 101. Firefighters “mop-up” after the fire has been controlled by extinguishing or removing burning material near the control line. Crews  secured the perimeter along Reagan Ranch and Refugio Canyon. Hot shot crews also began to cold trail areas along the old Sherpa Fire burn scars, which is a method of controlling a partly dead fire edge by carefully inspecting with the hand for heat to detect any fire. And along Hwy 101, crews removed hazard trees, while helicopters engaged the fire’s edge. The public is reminded to drive cautiously on Hwy 101 as crews continue to monitor the area. Last night, firefighters responded to isolated fire activity on the western most portion of the fire. 

Today 

Today’s priorities will be to secure the fire’s eastern edge along the old Sherpa Fire burn scar, address the western portion near the Cañada San Onofre, and ensure the fire holds where it has been contained. Crews will continue to use aviation assets as conditions allow.  

Weather 

Winds are the primary force behind fire growth. Expect winds to switch back and forth from a northerly to southerly direction throughout the day with gusts up to 20 mph. Wind switches, warm temperatures and decreasing humidity combined have the potential to increase fire activity. Strong down sloping winds will continue to impact fire behavior over the next several days. 

Evacuations 

Santa Barbara County’s evacuation orders remain in effect for Arroyo Hondo Canyon, Refugio Canyon, and the area between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo. Evacuation warnings are still in effect for the area east of El Capitan Beach State Park, west of Dos Pueblos Canyon Rd, and south of West Camino Cielo.

October 14, 2021 at 11:06 AM

Yesterday 

Fire crews held the fire to the north along West Camino Cielo. They completed a successful burnout operation last night from Refugio Road to the Camino Ceilo. The fire also slowed along its eastern flank in the younger fuels from the 2016 Sherpa Fire. Winds drove the fire westward forcing evacuations west of Arroyo Hondo to the intersection of California Highway 101 and Highway 1 towards Gaviota.  

Today 

Today’s priority will be to halt the spread to the northeast above Refugio Canyon. Crews will continue to use aviation assets as conditions allow. On the western edge, firefighters will work on keeping the fire from crossing Hwy 101 at Gaviota. Focus will be on slowing the fire’s expansion to the west and re-opening Hwy 101. Crews continue to engage the Refugio area, as well as clearing downed trees along rail lines. Additional aircraft will amplify efforts beginning today. 

Weather 

Winds are the primary force behind fire growth. Expect wind-swithes throughout the day. Northeast winds switch to westerly in the afternoon and back to northeast in the evening.  Strong down sloping winds will continue to impact fire behavior over the next several evenings. 

Evacuations 

The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management – the office managing evactuations — issued a new Evacuation Order and Evacuation Warning Oct. 13 at 11:45 p.m.  

  • Evacuation Order: For the area west of Arroyo Hondo to the intersection of Hwy 101 and Hwy 1, including Vista Del Mar School and Gaviota Beach.  
  • Evacuation Warning: Additional evacuation warning for all properties within Hollister Ranch area.  

Transition 

Santa Barbara County Fire Department’s Type 3 team in coordination with the Los Padres National Forest had been managing the Alisal Fire, since the fire started Oct. 11, 2021. That team transitioned into unified command  with California Interagency Incident Management Team 1 (CIIMT1) Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. CIIMT1 is a federal Type 1 Team led by Incident Commander Jerry McGowan. 

October 12, 2021 at 6:52 PM

Extreme fire behavior, with wind driven runs, backing and uphill runs.

Fire behavior is extreme with wind driven runs, uphill runs and backing. Significant fire activity continues with critically low fuel moisture and wind driven fire runs. Sundowner winds remain gusty from the northwest to north over the fire area. Later this evening winds will likely become more northeasterly to easterly then weaken overnight. Southwest winds are likely to develop Wednesday morning, which may turn southeasterly in the early afternoon, before becoming northwesterly as the Sundowners strengthen Wednesday evening. Smoke is visible throughout southern Santa Barbara County including the Santa Ynez Valley and along the Gaviota coastline. 

· Structures and powerlines threatened
· Hwy 101 closed in both directions
· Union Pacific Railroad closed from Gaviota to Goleta
· Evacuation orders and warnings in place
· Road and trail closures in the area
· Limited access due to steep and rugged terrain
· Unified Command with USFS and Santa Barbara County Fire
· CAIIMT 1 (McGowan) mobilized. In-briefing tomorrow 10/13 @ 1000

Due to the Alisal Fire, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department has issued the following:

Evacuation Order for Arroyo Hondo Canyon, Refugio Canyon, and the area between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo. Please leave the area immediately.

Evacuation Warning for the area east of El Capitan Beach State Park, west of Dos Pueblos Canyon Rd, and south of West Camino Cielo. ADDITIONAL Evacuation Warning Issued at 3:15PM on 10/12/2021 for the area east of Calle Mariposa Reina, west of Arroyo Hondo, and south of W Camino Cielo  Be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

The American Red Cross is supporting evacuees with sheltering needs.  The Evacuation Center at Dos Pueblos High School upper parking lot at 7266 Alameda Ave, Goleta, CA 93117  is on standby. Evacuees needing assistance can contact the American Red Cross at 833-583-3111.

Santa Barbara County Animal Services has been activated to assist with animal evacuations. Animal owners should call 805-681-4332 if assistance is needed to evacuate animals. Earl Warren Showgrounds has been established as an evacuation center for large animals. County Animal Services (5473 Overpass Road, Goleta) is accepting small animals. Livestock can be taken to the Earl Warren Showgrounds.

More information at: https://readysbc.org/2021/10/11/evacuation-warning-alisal-fire-oct-11/.

October 12, 2021 at 8:53 AM

The Alisal Fire started on October 11, 2021 at 2:30pm near the Alisal Reservoir. Strong northwest winds pushed the fire south over the summit towards the Tajiguas Landfill and crossed Hwy 101 to Tajiguas Beach. Winds are 30-35 mph with gusts up to 70 mph. The fire is approximately 6,000 acres with 0 percent containment. The fire is burning in dense chaparral and is being pushed by strong winds and growing at a rapid rate of speed. Smoke is visible throughout southern Santa Barbara County including the Santa Ynez Valley and along the Gaviota coastline. Much of Santa Barbara County is under a high wind warning until Tuesday morning with strong winds throughout the area. The US Forest Service is the lead agency responding to the fire with assistance from Santa Barbara County Fire. Firefighters are set up to protect structures as aircrafts continue to be unable to take off due to the wind.

Highway 101 is closed from Highway 1 at Las Cruces and Winchester Canyon/Cathedral Oaks Road in Goleta. Evacuation orders are in effect for residents in the Refugio Canyon, including Arroyo Hondo, Tajiguas and Arroyo Quemada. The evacuation order has expanded to include El Capitan State Park and the El Capitan Campground. An evacuation warning was put in place for the area north of El Capitan Campground and east to Dos Pueblos Canyon. A temporary evacuation center was set up at the parking lot of Dos Pueblos High School at 7266 Alameda Avenue in Goleta. As many as 100 structures, including ranches and homes, are threatened. More information at: https://readysbc.org/2021/10/11/evacuation-warning-alisal-fire-oct-11/.

Santa Barbara County Animal Services has been activated to assist with animal evacuations. Livestock can be taken to the Earl Warren Showgrounds. Animal owners should call 805-681-4332 if assistance is needed to evacuate animals.