Though today was billed as the day Santa Barbara could breathe easy as the fire danger was over, cross winds made it impossible to light the fire on the lower part of Pendola Jeepway. If all is a go, tomorrow, fire fighters will be on the line early to take advantage of winds that will keep the dogleg section with the breeze at their backs - perhaps as soon as day light.
The remaining area is a critical piece to have “in the pocket”; with it burned out Santa Barbara will finally be safe. Those on the line are confident they can pull it off. Late today, with the help of fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, and the trusty DC-10 laying down thousands of gallons of retardant on the dogleg section of Pendola Jeepway, the area to be burned will be well-prepped.
These panoramic photographs show an extremely wide angle view of the remaining area in the Live Oak Zone that concerns Incident Command. Though many hot spots still remain, and a few locations have enough islands of fuel to present problems, once this area is buttoned up, this will become a mop up operation.
That will be extremely good news for Santa Barbara city but it does not mean the fire is over. The wilderness phase of the fire may continue for quite a while - both in the Dick Smith Wilderness, where burn out operations continue to surround the area, and on the Sisquoc River. This section of the San Rafael Wilderness may present serious issues as there are few easy spots to cut the fire off now that it has passed the Sweetwater containment line.
By Ray Ford