Gap Fire Update: July 4th

Burn Area Increased, No Burned Structures Reported

As of 6 a.m., the U.S. Forest Service reported an increase in the burn area of the Gap Fire to 5,400 acres, with 10 percent containment and no structures believed burned. Last night, 753 firefighters battled the fire, but were unable to get into certain areas because the fire was too active. The number of fire personnel has since been increased to 1,072.

Once again, strong gusts of wind were to blame for yesterday evening’s expansion of the fire. A sundowner wind event is expected again this evening, although the winds are not expected to be as strong as last night, said Helen Tarbet of the Forest Service. The view from Goleta up toward the mountains reveals nothing, as it is obscured by smoke. Although although the fire is not producing thick, billowing smoke like yesterday afternoon, flakes of ash are still falling.

According to the county’s Web site, evacuation orders and road closures remain the same, and can be viewed at Stephenie Yelenik, a resident of Kinevan Road—one of the areas that was evacuated—said she drove up to her house to get some of her things at 6:30 p.m. yesterday after the evacuation order had been handed down. After showing an I.D. to prove that she lived there, they allowed her 10 minutes to get what she needed. “The wind was violent, and the fire looked like it was just a ridge away,” she said. “I was sure we were going to lose the house. The smoke was very thick.”

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