WEATHER »

Kelley Close

Firefighters Battle to Turn the Corner

Next 24-to-72 hours is Critical


Yesterday in the upper Cuyama Valley, relative humidity reached an almost impossible reading of 1 percent at Ozena Station. With temperatures hovering at the century mark, fuels were at 100% ignition capability. In fact, approaching heat from the advancing flames can ignite it well before the fire reaches it.

These are extreme conditions,” weather forecasters told the firefighters assembled at this morning’s briefing at Live Oak Camp. Later in the day a Red Flag Warning was issued for the County.

Those on the front lines - the hand crews and hot shots who are out there working in the worst of conditions to put line around the southern edge of the fire: high temperatures and steep terrain, with fire almost surrounding them.

However, as Incident Commander Bill Molumby told the crowd, now is the time to turn the corner and make sure the fire continues its northeastern march.

Images taken by Kelley Close yesterday tell the story of how difficult this will be better than I can.

Author’s Note: These were taken yesterday while on a helicopter reconnaissance to the area - the only way you can get these type pictures - and provided to me thanks to the Public Information Office at Live Oak Camp. What is truly amazing is that the crews on the ground appear to be holding the line given these kind of conditions. We are truly blessed to have people willing to serve us with this type commitment. I salute them.

Kelley Close

Kelley Close

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