A Red Flag warning which has been in effect, has now expired. The Emergency Fire Area Closure (call [805] 925-9538 or click here for the Web site) has been reduced in size, but the general area in and around La Brea Fire will most likely remain closed until next spring. This closure will allow the areas affected by the fire a chance to heal, as new growth vegetation begins to appear.

La Brea Closure area, changed August 26, 2009 (large format)

Crews are still working in and around the area of the fire and the closure is for the safety of forest visitors, as there is a danger of falling trees, rolling rocks, and other safety hazards present where the fire burned. There is also risk of flash flooding in streams and rivers should rain occur, which is why the Sisquoc River will remain closed from the National Forest boundary to Wellman Camp. The emergency closure prohibits public entry to all National Forest lands, trails, roads, and recreation sites within the closure area specified below. The closure applies only to National Forest lands and does not affect private lands within the National Forest boundary.

La Brea Fire is a reminder of the fire-prone conditions that exist in the area, especially for those families who needed to be evacuated during the course of the fire. The advent of another El Ni±o adds to the possibility of more unstable weather. The right combination of lightning and wind can pose a serious threat to individual homes as well as whole communities.

How fire defensible is your home? Saving your home, your life, and the life of firefighters depends on defensible space around your home. Preparing and maintaining defensible space around your home is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from wildfire. California law requires homeowners to clear a 100-foot zone of defensible space around their homes.

Resources currently assigned to the fire include: 5 engines, 3 crews, 2 helicopters, 28 water tenders, and 295 total personnel.

Basic Information

Cause: Fire was started by a cooking fire at a marijuana drug trafficking operation.

Date of Origin: Saturday, August 8, 2009, at approximately 2:50 p.m.

Location: 21 miles east of Santa Maria

Incident Commander: Jamie Copple

Current Situation

Total Personnel: 295

Size: 89,439 acres

Percent Contained: 100 percent

Containment Date: Saturday, August 22, 2009, 6 p.m.

Fuels Involved: The area where the fire is located consists of primarily chaparral with areas of grass and timber. A typical chaparral plant community consists of densely growing evergreen scrub oaks and other drought-resistant shrubs. It often grows so densely that it is inpenetrable to large animals and humans. This, and its generally arid condition, makes it notoriously prone to wildfires.

Fire Behavior: Minimal fire activity was observed overnight. Interior islands of fuels, which are well within the interior of the fire’s perimeter, may continue to smolder and burn. As these islands burn, plumes of smoke will possibly be seen. Minimal fire activity was observed today. A combination of low relative humidity, high temperature, and critically dry fuels create the potential for extreme fire behavior should a “new start” occur.

Significant Events: Demobilization of resources is continuing.


Planned Actions: Mop up will continue as well as fire suppression rehabilitation efforts.

Growth Potential: Medium

Terrain Difficulty: Extreme

Remarks: A Type-3 Command Team (Copple) assumed command of the incident this morning at 6 a.m.


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