July 27, 2017 2:00 p.m.
Start Date: July 8, 2017
Cause: Under Investigation
Size: 18,430 acres
Location: The fire is burning in the Santa Ynez Mountains northwest of Goleta.
Current Situation: The Whittier Fire is now being managed by Los Padres National Forest Type 3 Incident Commander Curt Schwarm, Deputy Woody Enos and the Santa Barbara County Interagency Incident Management Team. There was no additional growth overnight, however interior smokes were visible as the fire continues to smolder in Dos Pueblos Canyon. There are 300 firefighters engaged in both suppression and repair work. The Incident Command Post has moved from Dos Pueblos High School to the Los Prietos Ranger Station. Helicopters, crews, dozers and engines continue to be used in suppression activities. There will continue to be firefighting equipment on State Highway 154 and adjacent roads, and the public is advised to exercise caution when using these routes. The Type 3 IMT is being assisted by crews from outside the region, from Arizona and New Mexico all the way to Virginia.
Sundowners are forecasted for tonight, which may cause some flare-ups. Thirteen percent of the perimeter remains unsecured and is inaccessible due to steep terrain. There remains potential for the fire to flare up and be visible to the public, however the local team is working cooperatively to fully contain the fire as soon as safely possible. A forest closure order prohibits members of the public from entering the Whittier Fire
Vegetation: The slope that the fire is primarily burning on is comprised of Oak trees and brush that has not burned since the Refugio Fire in 1955. Over the last several years these fuels have been stressed by the exceptional drought conditions and a high percentage of the fuel bed is dead. The combination of old, dry fuels with a newly cured heavy grass crop contributed to the rapid growth of this fire.
Fire Weather: A slightly drier air mass is moving over the area today that will result in warmer conditions with a small drop in afternoon humidity. Winds were light overnight, and increasing in the late afternoon with gusts on the ridgetop reaching 12 mph.
Mandatory Evacuations: None
Evacuation Warning: None
Values to be Protected: Commercial and residential structures, SCE distribution lines, communications infrastructure, cultural archeological sites.
Smoke: Smoke from the Whittier fire may continue to impact air quality in some areas adjacent to the fire.
Drones: Drones pose a serious risk to firefighting and can cause air operations to cease. The public is reminded that “If you fly, we can’t!”