La Brea fire perimeter, August 8 – 16 (detail)

[There will be a community meeting today at 6:30 p.m. at the Cuyama Valley High School, 4500 Hwy 166, New Cuyama, to provide a fire update and plans for completing containment of the fire.]

Overnight crews continued to mop up and patrol fire lines. Weather conditions on the northeast section were not favorable for the planned burnout operation intended to tie Schoolhouse Canyon in to Sierra Madre Ridge. The fire activity was quiet on the west, north, and northeast flanks of the fire. The fire grew by approximately 679 acres on the east flank.

La Brea Fire perimeter, August 8 – 16, 2009

Fire activity along the south flank, from the Sierra Madre Ridge southwest toward the Sisquoc River, has slowed as the fire has entered into an old burn area. Firefighters are taking this opportunity to try to contain the fire by use of thermal infrared imagery to identify hotspots for targeted hand crew and helicopter water bucket work.

Day Operations Plan: Today’s focus will be on the east side of the fire to improve the Schoolhouse Canyon ‘dozer containment line. This area represents some of the last uncontrolled fire line north of the Sierra Madre Ridge. Firefighter’s goal is to push the active fire from the Cuyama Valley to the ridge and to hold it in the San Rafael Wilderness. Dozers and crews will continue to work on improving the fire lines and hope to conduct firing operations throughout the day if the weather permits. Mop up operations continue on the west side of the fire to reinforce the containment lines. Crews will continue to mop up and monitor the fires perimeter.

Weather: On the west side of the fire, temperatures will approach 70-80 degrees by afternoon. On the east side, drier conditions will create the potential for more active fire behavior with gusty winds in the afternoon. Yesterday, relative humidity levels fell below 10% for two consecutive hours and are expected to do so again today.

Evacuations: Evacuation Orders are still in effect as issued by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. The Tepusquet Road and Buckhorn Ridge area are now open, but still under an Evacuation Warning. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and California Incident Management Team 3 will continue to evaluate the evacuation areas based on fire conditions.

Fire Investigation: U.S. Forest Service Special Agents, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and fire investigators determined the La Brea Fire was caused by a cooking fire at an illegal marijuana drug trafficking operation within the forest. The La Brea Fire Tip Line is still open, and anyone with additional information helpful to this ongoing investigation is urged to contact 805-686-5074.

Closures: An emergency closure order is in effect for portions of the Los Padres National Forest in and around the fire. For more information, please contact Fire Information at (805) 961-5770 from 6am-10pm or Inciweb.


Engines: 126

Crews: 56

Dozers: 30

Water Tenders: 59

Helicopters: 12

Fixed Wing: 5

Basic Information

Total Personnel: 2,078

Size: 87,490 acres

Percent Contained: 75%

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

Fire Behavior: In the Cuyama Valley the fire continued to move down slope into Big Spring drainage. Minimal fire activity overnight on the west side along containment lines, but interior pockets of fuel continues to burn.

Significant Events: Direct and indirect line was constructed on the east side by Schoolhouse Canyon up to the Sierra Madre Ridge. Crews held the line and started mopping up from Manzana Schoolhouse north towards Buckhorn Ridge in the Tepusquet area. Crews continued to hold and put out hot spots along the north portion of the Treplett fuel break by Miranda Pine.


Planned Actions : In the wilderness area from Sierra Madre Ridge to Manzana Schoolhouse, line will be constructed using minimal impact suppression tactics (MIST). Crews will patrol along Sierra Madre Road and the northern portion of the Treplett fuel break. Crews will also hold and mop up from the Treplett fuel break south to Manzana Schoolhouse. Construct direct, indirect line and burn out in Schoolhouse Canyon south. Due to the proximity of these communities to the burn out operations, structure protection will continue along Foothill Road in Cottonwood.

Growth Potential: High

Terrain Difficulty: Extreme

Remarks: An evacuation order is still in place for the 23 threatened residences on Foothill Road in Cotton Canyon. Two structures have been destroyed by the La Brea Fire one was the non-operational White Oaks Ranger Station and the other a hunter’s cabin. Fire is being managed under unified command with CAL FIRE and California Interagency Management Team 3.


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