Rey Fire: Saturday Morning Update

The Rey Fire
Paul Wellman

Update, 9:30 a.m., Saturday: Last night, the Rey Fire grew to 10,782 acres, according to the California Interagency Incident Management Team, and is only 10 percent contained. It is moving into the Los Padres National Forest, and not toward any developed areas at the moment. Air drops will continue throughout the day. About 500 firefighters are currently working to contain the blaze.

See Ray Ford’s photos from yesterday here.

[Update, 7:00 p.m.]: County officials reported the fire has grown to 2,700 acres, with 20 percent containment. A shift in the winds around 2:00 p.m. pushed the wildfire to the west and north, and by 6:00 p.m. it had traveled about two miles.

50 structures are under immediate threat, according to Los Padres National Forest officials.

“It got seriously active for a few hours,” reported Ray Ford from the burn area. “They don’t want to lose Horse Canyon. They want to stop its westward movement. Tonight, they’re making a stand.”

While officials have yet to release the cause of the fire, they have surrounded White Rock Picnic Area with bright yellow “Fire Origin” tape. Inside the picnic area, a large oak tree has fallen across power lines, and at least two power poles are down. Officials with Southern California Edison are surveying the area.

Additional evacuations are not currently expected. The shelter at Santa Ynez High School remains on standby.

[Original Post]: On Friday morning, fire officials continue to be concerned about the northeast corner of the Rey Fire, the 600-acre-plus blaze that started near a campground along Paradise Road on Thursday afternoon. The fire remains 20 percent contained.

“Last night went really well,” said Los Padres National Forest spokesperson Manuel Madrigal at Los Prietos Ranger Station on Paradise Road. The fire changed direction with the winds overnight, he said, but cooler temperatures and moderate wind speed helped. Aircrafts haven’t started flying yet because they are socked in by fog at the Santa Ynez Airport. “They can’t fly until the fog lifts,” Madrigal said.

But if the fire takes off, it’s not threatening structures or campsites, he added. It hasn’t hit the San Rafael Wilderness yet.

County fire spokesperson Mike Eliason said fire officials decided not to deploy crews with dozers to cut brush on the west side overnight because of safety concerns, but they are trying to accomplish as much as possible this morning, when temperatures are cool. This afternoon, temps are expected to be in the high 90s, with winds in the double digits.

According to Los Padres National Forest, two injuries were reported Friday — one due to heat and one from bee stings.

Santa Barbara Independent outdoors reporter Ray Ford said Friday morning the blaze continues to travel northeast toward Peach Tree Canyon behind Lake Cachuma and the San Rafael Wilderness. “Many small cabins back in the Peach Tree area could be threatened,” he said at about 7 a.m. Friday. “If the winds were to shift towards the lake, that would be bad news.”

He added, “A fair amount of retardant [has been] dropped on the east side of Sage Hill and to the interior to try to protect the east flank. Still the fire was moving to the interior and slightly to the east just above Upper Oso camp. If any winds push the fire east across Upper Oso Canyon, that could potentially wrap around and threaten to cross the river farther upstream. [We] will have a better idea today if that might happen — but probably not. [The] White Fire created a pretty good buffer, but it only goes so far before you get to brush that hasn’t burned in several decades.”

Highway 154 is open this morning. Paradise Road remains closed. Fire officials will hold a media briefing at 10 a.m. Friday morning. Check back to this story for updates.


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