The Windy Fire — a wildfire burning on the Tule River Indian Reservation and threatening the Giant Sequoia National Monument — expanded on Thursday, and the increased winds not only intensified the fire but also sent thick plumes of smoke streaming westward across California. Santa Barbarans woke up this morning to a foggy orange sunrise as a result.
The smoke is high enough to create hazy conditions but not affect ground-level air quality, said Lyz Bantilan, a spokesperson for the county Air Pollution Control District. That may change slightly this weekend, however, when the air quality is forecast to change from “good” to “moderate.” The smoke is expected to continue to move this way through Saturday, said Eric Boldt with the National Weather Service.
The fire grew to 49,000 acres on Friday, and Tulare County ordered mandatory evacuations in several communities in the fire’s path, including Sugar Loaf, Idlewild, and Poso. Containment is estimated to be 6 percent, and a resource advisor is checking the sequoia groves to assess the trees’ condition.
To view Santa Barbara County’s air quality, visit the county’s Today’s Air Quality page.