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A scene from Sunday, August 9, La Brea fire

Jay C. Nichols

A scene from Sunday, August 9, La Brea fire


La Brea Fire Morning Report

Evacuation warning issues for some ranch areas


(The following information comes from Inciweb, the USFS information system, 10am Tuesday, August 11)

Evacuation Warning Issued in La Brea Fire

Effective at 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, August 11, 2009, an Evacuation Warning was issued by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office for the following areas due to fire activity of the La Brea Fire:

* Western Boundary: Sierra Madre Road

* Southern Boundary: Cottonwood Road

* Eastern Boundary: Highway 166

* Northern Boundary: Spoor Canyon

This area includes Moon and Eckert Canyons.

Fire officials contacted the 14 occupied ranches in the area last night and they are moving livestock as necessary. The majority of the area is very lightly populated.

La Brea Fire closure area, August 10, 2009
Click to enlarge photo

Los Padres NF HQ

La Brea Fire closure area, August 10, 2009

An Evacuation Warning is defined as alerting community members in a defined area of a threat to life and property from an emergency incident.

Fire managers will alert the Sheriff Office if fire behavior in the future requires a change to the warning status.

Fire information is available at www.inciweb.org or on the County’s website, www.CountyofSB.org.

Or call the USFS Fire Information Line at (805) 961-5770 from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

The La Brea Fire, which started on August 8, continues to burn in the northwest portion of the San Rafael Wilderness, in very steep and inaccessible terrain. California Interagency Incident Management Team 3, under Incident Commander Jeanne Pincha-Tulley, took command of the fire at 6 a.m. this morning. Dense, 87-year-old chapparal, long distance spotting and moderate to rapid rates of spread challenge firefighting efforts. Extreme fire behavior has been observed since the fire began. The fire has not entered the Sisquoc River area and is still within the Wilderness boundary.

Fire suppression vehicle traffic has significantly increased on Highway 166, and the public is urged to seek an alternate route or use extra caution when traveling the highway.

Current Situation: Firefighters worked hard today to help check the spread of the fire, and more firefighters are on the way. 14,778 acres have burned. This afternoon, fire activity near Timber Peak was highly visible from Highway 166. Self sufficient crews will build fireline until the end of their shift this evening, and then they will camp at a safe location near the fireline, to be ready to continue line construction first thing in the morning. Crews and engines will work on a slop over on Sierra Madre Ridge tonight. Existing dozer lines from the Zaca Fire along the Triplet Fuelbreak, and Peach Tree and Sierra Madre Ridges are being utilized as firelines. Previously burned areas of the Bald Fire may assist in controlling growth of the La Brea Fire.

The Martin Mars Waterscooping aircraft will be flying the La Brea Fire today. Tanker 223 has a tank consisting of two compartments (left and right), each with a capacity of 3,500 gallons and has a capacity of 7,200 gallons.

Weather: Typical August weather conditions will prevail, with hot and dry conditions continuing through the week. It will be mostly sunny with highs of 80 to 90 degrees on the ridgetops, and highs of 90 to 100’s at lower elevations. Tonight will be mostly clear with lows in the high 50’s to low 60’s. Tomorrow slope and valley winds will be 3-6 mph, with afternoon winds 6-12 mph and gusts to 18 mph.

Closures: An emergency closure order, ORDER NO. 09-13-5100-10, is in effect for portions of the Los Padres National Forest in and around the fire. Please contact Fire Information at (805) 961-5770 or www.inciweb for more complete information.

Flight Restrictions: Temporary flight restrictions have been put in place over the fire area.

Resources assigned to the fire: 23 Engines, 34 Crews, 17 Dozers, 7 Helicopters, and 1,054 Total personnel.

Current Situation

Total Personnel: 1,062

Size: 20,622 acres

Percent Contained: 10%

Fuels Involved: Primarily Chaparral with with areas of short grass and timber.

Fire Behavior: Fire has slopped over the line in the Timber Peak area along Sierra Madre Ridge. There is 290 acre slope over in Moon Canyon.

Outlook

Planned Actions: Crews with improve and construct line on the southeast side of the fire and hold and mop up on the Sierra Madre Road and construct direct line along Horse Canyon. Self sufficient crews will build fire line until the end of their operational period and remain at or near the point while off duty and begin building fireline during their next shift where they left off. This is referred to as “Coyote Tactics.”

Growth Potential:Extreme

Terrain Difficulty: Extreme

Remarks: California Interagency Incident Management Team 3 has assumed command of the fire.

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