Whittier Fire Evening Update for July 10, 2017
Incident: Whittier Fire Wildfire
July 10, 2017 8:00 p.m.
Start Date: July 8, 2017 Cause: Under Investigation Size: 10,823 acres Containment: 25% Personnel: 842
Structures burned: 8 residences, 12 outbuildings
Location: The fire is burning in the Santa Ynez Mountains on both sides of State Highway 154 in the area of Lake Cachuma.
Current Situation: 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.
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. 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.
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!”