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All Whittier Fire Evacuation Warnings Lifted As Blaze Winds Down

All evacuation warnings for the devastating Whittier Fire were lifted Sunday morning.

Saturday night was the last shift of night operations for the blaze, which was 87-percent contained as of Sunday, according to fire officials.

Firefighters have worked 12-hour shifts around the clock to conquer the fire, which erupted July 8 and has burned 18,430 acres.

The estimated date for full containment remains July 30.

A paramedic crew patrolling the Whittier Fire area rescued two dogs in distress in the area of El Capitan Canyon Ranch Road Sunday afternoon, Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said. 

The crew found the two dogs which were extremely thirsty, hungry and dehydrated, he said. 

Firefighting personnel gave the dogs some food and water, "which they accepted quite readily," Zaniboni said, adding that it was unclear how long the dogs were loose. 

A Whittier Fire crew rescued two dogs found in distress Sunday afternoon, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. Click to view larger
A Whittier Fire crew rescued two dogs found in distress Sunday afternoon, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.  (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

Both animals were taken to the County Animal Shelter at 5399 Overpass Rd. and are being cared for there, Zaniboni added. 

The Whittier Fire burned in the Santa Ynez Mountains between Lake Cachuma and western Goleta, and prompted evacuations for thousands of people — from camps, ranches and residences — in the early days.

​Evacuation warnings were lifted for the area of Calle Real north to West Camino Cielo, from Winchester Canyon Road on the east to El Capitán Ranch Road on the west.

One road closure remains in effect: West Camino Cielo, between Refugio Road and the Winchester Canyon Gun Club.

Authorities stressed that even though evacuation warnings have been lifted, firefighters and fire equipment are still working to improve the fire line and focusing on mop-up spots in the area.

Nature is also helping the firefighting effort. The forecast calls for “monsoon moisture” in the area and a small chance of thunderstorms Monday and Tuesday as the moisture lingers.

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team will next begin an assessment to evaluate the burned area watersheds and identify emergency treatments necessary to protect sensitive resources.

A total of 16 residences were destroyed and another one was damaged, and 30 outbuildings were destroyed, with six more damaged, according to the most recent damage assessments.

The fire heavily damaged The Outdoor School and the Rancho Alegre Boy Scout camp, where most buildings burned to the ground.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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