Tuesday, April 24 , 2018, 10:45 pm | Overcast 54º


Local News

Despite Higher Temperatures, Rey Fire Containment Rises to 68%

Minimal fire behavior observed as crews work to fully corral blaze in Santa Barbara County backcountry

An estimated 33,006 acres have been blackened by the Rey Fire burning in Los Padres National Forest. The blaze was 68-percent contained on Monday morning, with little fire activity observed overnight. Click to view larger
An estimated 33,006 acres have been blackened by the Rey Fire burning in Los Padres National Forest. The blaze was 68-percent contained on Monday morning, with little fire activity observed overnight. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Despite higher temperatures and lower humidity, firefighters continued making progress Sunday toward full containment of the 10-day-old Rey Fire.

The area charred by the blaze burning in Los Padres National Forest in the Santa Barbara County backcountry remained unchanged at 33,006 acres, but containment rose to 68 percent by Monday morning.

“Fire behavior was minimal, with creeping and smoldering,” according to the Inciweb website page for the wildfire.

Firefighters were still focusing their attention on the fire’s northeast flank, where it has been most active in recent days.

Daytime highs on the fire lines ranged from 85 to 90 degrees, with relative humidity falling into the range of 25 percent to 30 percent.

Crews were continuing to build direct containment lines where needed, and patrolling and mopping up elsewhere, officials said.

Paradise Road, where the fire began on Aug. 18 near the White Rock Picnic Area about five miles east of Lake Cachuma, was reopened to the public Sunday evening.

Earlier in the day, officials shut down Painted Cave Road to all but residents of the area to avoid conflicts with fire crews using East Camino Cielo for access to the fire.

Hotter weather is expected early this week, and a Fire Weather Watch has been issued for Monday afternoon through Wednesday morning.

Forecasters say sundowner winds coupled with temperatures 10-15 degrees above seasonal norms and low relative humidity will create “critical fire weather conditions.”

Officials Sunday night were still targeting Wednesday for full containment of the Rey Fire.

The cause of the fire remained officially under investigation.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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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