A fire at Scorpion Valley on Santa Cruz Island has burned through more than 700 acres of land and is 80 percent contained as of Monday morning. The fire was first reported at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday by a construction crew working on the island.

The Los Padres National Forest Service sent in 20 hotshots as well as air support to fight the blaze. By 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, the fire had spread east and quickly grew to about 60 acres. No structures have been damaged or threatened, and there are no reported injuries. There are also no reports yet on the effect on island wildlife caused by the fire.

The Santa Barbara Independent is providing all coronavirus stories for free
so that all readers have access to critical information during this time.
Get the top stories in your inbox by signing up for our daily newsletter, Indy Today

“The National Park Service is working with United States Forest to contain the fire on Santa Cruz Island,” said Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Ethan McKinley in a statement Sunday. “Firefighting on an island can be challenging, but we have been able to quickly mobilize our initial response.”

By Sunday night, the fire had grown to an estimated 450 acres and was 40 percent contained. Santa Barbara County Fire sent in 21 wildland firefighters to join the Forest Service hotshot crew. Additionally, a third 20-person crew was ordered along with another Forest Service helicopter.

Through the night, 49 total firefighters fought to contain the blaze, which is now to the northeast of the road that leads from Scorpion Valley to Smugglers Cove. They also constructed a fire line from the road to the coast near Smugglers Cove.

A 20-person wildland fire crew from the Monterey District of Los Padres National Forest will remain on standby in Ventura if further assistance is needed, and air assets are also available but not expected to be deployed.

The Forest Service has also worked to improve the quality of radio communication on Santa Cruz Island by upgrading the repeaters on the island. Andrew Madsen of the Forest Service said that communication is “outstanding” now.

As of today, Island Packers, the park transportation concessioner, has resumed service for the public to visit the Channel Islands with trips to Prisoners Harbor on Santa Cruz Island and to Bechers Bay on Santa Rosa Island.

The cause of the fire remains unknown, and an updated report on containment is expected later this afternoon.

At the Santa Barbara Independent, our staff is working around the clock to cover every aspect of this crisis — sorting truth from rumor.  Our reporters and editors are asking the tough questions of our public health officials and spreading the word about how we can all help one another. The community needs us — now more than ever — and we need you  in order to keep doing the important work we do. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.