Despite what many are calling 911 to report today, that’s not smoke in the mountains above Goleta – it’s just ash and dust clouds being kicked up by the crews working to clean up after the Gap Fire, which was officially contained earlier this week.

The work is being done to “repair damage caused by fire suppression actions,” according to a press release issued by the Los Padres National Forest at 2 p.m. on August 1. The clean-up operations involve the use of a “masticator,” a backhoe-type vehicle that employs an articulating arm to chop the bushes. The masticators, currently being used along stretches of West Camino Cielo Road, kick up considerable amounts of dust and ash, which can look like smoke from a distance.

As such, the county’s 911 services have been inundated with calls from concerned residents this afternoon worried that another fire has begun. It has not, so firefighting officials have put out this information in hopes that the calls cease.


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