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Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 11:08 pm | A Few Clouds 50º


Gap Fire Now 75 Percent Contained

Crews concentrate their efforts on West Camino Cielo and in the canyons west of Goleta.

Grateful Goleta residents have made sure that firefighters know how much they’re appreciated. After delivering a care package of cookies Wednesday, from left, students Katie Kushnerov, Sarah Baker and Nicholas Kushnerov get a photo opportunity with firefighters from Kern County/California Office of Emergency Services at the Dos Pueblos High School staging area. (Valerie Kushnerov photo)

Fire crews have made significant progress against the Gap Fire burning in rugged terrain north and west of Goleta. As of Friday morning, the 9,443-acre blaze was 75 percent contained.

Bulldozers cut a half-mile firebreak along West Camino Cielo and continued to work north toward Condor Peak, officials said Thursday. A contingency line was constructed from Refugio Canyon south to Highway 101.

More than 1,100 firefighters remain on duty against the fire, which has cost $15.1 million to battle. No homes have burned, although several outbuildings have been destroyed.

A mandatory evacuation remains in effect for West Camino Cielo west of Windermere Ranch. All other area evacuations have been downgraded to evacuation warnings or lifted completely. Current evacuation warnings include the Haney Tract, Hidden Valley, Kinevan Road, Trout Club, West Camino Cielo, Windermere Ranch and canyons west of Farren Road.

The Gap Fire started July 1 near the Lizard’s Mouth hiking area on West Camino Cielo, about a half-mile east of the Winchester Canyon Gun Club. Officials have said the fire was caused by humans but have refused to say whether it was accidentally or intentionally set. The blaze remains under investigation and a 24-hour tip line — 805.961.5710 — has been established to receive information on the origin.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at [email protected]

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