Courtesy of Forest Service
While nearby wildland residents worried about the fire spreading south, wilderness buffs were anxious about its impact on the Mission Pine area. Here flames spread out towards Mission Pine Springs,
Fire Stalls In the Santa Cruz Drainage
Wildland Residents Reassured by Last Night’s Meeting
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Courtesy Forest service
Fire burns along the edge of a ridge in the Santa Cruz drainage. Though the brush is heavy, without wind it burns slowly. At times this may create a false impression the fire is under control but locations such as this are almost inaccessible and fire here is difficult to put out.
During last night’s community meeting for wildland residents in the Paradise, Rosario Park and Camino Cielo areas, County Supervisor Brooks Firestone asked the question on everyone’s minds. “When will the fire get to the twenty-four hour line?” he asked Incident Commander Aaron Gelobter.
During the presentations made by Gelobter, County Fire Chief Scherrei and others, the focus had been on what are called “trigger points” - locations in the Santa Cruz drainage that would set evacuation warnings or orders in motion.
Courtesy Forest Service
A section of the operation map for the Zaca Fire, this part shows the entire Santa Cruz drainage. At its widest it spans more than eight miles, making it one of the backcountry’s biggest and most challenging places to fight a fire.
“I think we’ve got at least a day, probably two before we get to that point” Gelobter replied. Then he reminded the audience that the twenty-four hour mark -roughly at the point along Santa Cruz Creek where a Forest Service camp and administrative out-building is located - was design to let fire officials know it was time to re-evaluate strategies and only if needed order the evacuation warning.
Gelobter added, “Wind conditions, fuels, the direction the fire is heading all need to be looked at closely. We’ve got enough time to add additional dozer lines and burn out some of the brush if that will help. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” he added, echoing a similar comment made by Chief Scherrei.
Earlier that afternoon before the meeting was held, dozers could be spotted on the ridgeline east of Peachtree Canyon widening the break there and getting ready to add new dozer line from just below Santa Cruz Peak along the south ridge of Black Canyon to pinch off the fire and keep it from advancing down towards the Santa Ynez River canyon.
Courtesy of Forest Service
Photographed from Buckhorn Road, a major column of smoke on the front face of Mission Pine ridge indicates the fire has reached extremely dry fuels.
Helicopters continued to add water and retardant on the ridges, keeping the fire from spreading south.