Rey Fire Remains Within Containment Lines

Winds Shifting, Smoke from Fire Visible from Santa Barbara

Shifting winds blew life into the Rey Fire on Sunday afternoon, billowing smoke that was visible over the mountain range.

Ray Ford

[UPDATE: August 21, 2016, 6 p.m.] Soon after our reporter got off the phone, the spot fire “got hammered with retardant and helicopters,” Ford said. He’s safely back at fire camp.

[UPDATE: August 21, 2016, 5:30 p.m.] Ray Ford, reporting on Rey Fire from out in the field, was at a campsite about a mile below Red Rock when he saw a spot fire coming within 100-200 yards of the river. A battalion car soon arrived, and we lost contact with Ford at that point.

Gina DePinto, communications manager with the county, emphasized that the fire has breached no containment lines and has not crossed the river. Forest Service Public Information Officer Daniel Madrigal reported late this afternoon that the wind was blowing from the west, causing a large plume of smoke to billow eastward, visible from town. Conditions remain hot, dry, with low winds, he stated; an update on fire stats will become available after 8 p.m.

Map of Rey Fire as of 5 p.m. on August 21, 2016. By nightfall, it had burned about 22,000 acres and was 20 percent contained.

[UPDATE: August 21, 2016, 2:17 p.m.] Down in the canyon formed by the Santa Ynez River, Ray Ford reports that the wind is now blowing west to west-northwest and that the air tankers are starting to paint a line of retardant along the slopes. “That’s a good sign,” he said, adding that the shifting winds are moving the fire back uphill and away from the river. The Rey Fire remains “very active with some tremendous clouds building up here,” Ford said.

[ORIGINAL STORY] At 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Ray Ford called from his position in Upper Oso Canyon, about a quarter-mile below the campground. He said that the Rey Fire had jumped the road to Upper Oso, meaning that it crossed the containment line.

The winds are constantly shifting, so it’s impossible to predict what may happen. But if they start to blow more to the southeast and down canyon toward the Santa Ynez River, Ford said, “All bets are off in terms of the fire not making it across the river.” And if that happens, Ford explained, “Everyone has to hope that we don’t have winds blowing east and down to Santa Barbara.”

He said the winds are about 10 mph, and that temperatures are past 90 degrees already. “It’s gonna be another hot day,” he said.

Santa Barbara County’s communications manager, Gina DePinto, said the wind has headed a little to the east but the Rey Fire appeared to be in no danger of crossing the river, as of one o’clock Sunday afternoon. “We are obviously watching for it,” she added. The same hot, low-humidity conditions continue today, and no sundowners had been forecast, she said.


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