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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 4:52 am | Fair 45º


Ogilvy Ranch Buildings Damaged in Rey Fire as Flames Move East

Containment rises to 46%, acreage remains at 33,006; officials announce campground, road and trail closures as wildfire continues burning in Santa Barbara backcountry

A plume of smoke rises Thursday afternoon from the Mono Creek drainage, the most active area of the Rey Fire. Flames jumped the ridge in that area. Click to view larger
A plume of smoke rises Thursday afternoon from the Mono Creek drainage, the most active area of the Rey Fire. Flames jumped the ridge in that area. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

Officials confirmed Friday that three outbuildings at the Ogilvy Ranch were damaged in the Rey Fire, but the extent was unknown.

Fire crews have been attempting to protect structures in the Santa Barbara backcountry, including ones on the ranch, Forest Service buildings and the Pendola Station, by wrapping them with a specialized, foil-type material designed to reflect heat and inhibit embers and sparks.

A damage assessment was still going on in the ranch area, said Pam Bierce, a spokesperson for the fire incident management team. The structures were reportedly damaged Thursday afternoon as the blaze flared up on its eastern flank, she said.

The Rey Fire, which has burned an estimated 33,006 acres since starting Aug. 18, was 46-percent contained as of Friday evening, and crews were working to build contingency containment lines on the east side of the fire near the P-Bar Trail and Pendola Jeep Trail, authorities said.

A firefighter was airlifted to the hospital from the Pendola Campground area Thursday after reportedly suffering from a heat-related illness.

The fire continues to burn east, and jumped over Mono Creek Thursday, so crews were concentrating on developing more contingency and containment lines in the area, Bierce said.

Air support, including tankers and helicopters, was delayed by the heavy morning marine layer Friday, she added.

Lower temperatures were forecast for Friday, but the weather could heat up over the weekend in the firefighting areas, she said.

Large portions of the Los Padres National Forest have been closed to the public due to the Rey Fire, and officials issued closures that go beyond the area burning or near the actively burning areas.

Fire crews wrap a Santa Barbara backcountry cabin in foil-type material that is designed to reflect heat and inhibit sparks. Click to view larger
Fire crews wrap a Santa Barbara backcountry cabin in foil-type material that is designed to reflect heat and inhibit sparks.  (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

“It's called 'the big box' and reflects contingency planning,” Los Padres spokesperson Andrew Madsen said of the closure boundaries. “We work to suppress the fire as quickly as possible while planning for a potentially larger event.”

The U.S. Forest Service said the closure order will be enforced until the Rey Fire is fully contained and controlled, and violators could face a $5,000 penalty or six months in jail.

Scroll down for a map of the closure area.

The Rey Fire burn area is a small portion of the closure, which includes the San Rafael Wilderness and Dick Smith Wilderness areas. Some of the roads and campgrounds included in this area were already closed to the public due to the hazard of dead and dying trees.

In the Santa Lucia Ranger District, closures include Figueroa Campground and some Figueroa Mountain day-use and picnic areas.

In the Santa Barbara Ranger District, lower and upper Santa Ynez Recreation Area campgrounds are closed, including: the Fremont Campground, Los Prietos Campground, Paradise Campground, Sage Hill Group Campground, Upper Oso Campground, Middle Santa Ynez Campground, Mono Campground, Rock Camp, P-Bar Flat Campground and the Big Caliente  and Little Caliente Hotsprings day-use areas.

Trailheads and day use spots in the same areas are closed, including Red Rock, White Rock and Live Oak.

Click here for a full list of temporary closures in Los Padres National Forest.

“Closure of the fire area aims to help ensure that members of the public are not injured within the fire perimeter, and for the scorched landscape to begin the rehabilitation process,” Los Padres National Forest officials said in a statement.

The Rey Fire started Aug. 18 along Paradise Road. It remains officials "under investigation," but there are indications it started after part of a large oak tree brought down power lines near the White Rock Picnic Area.

Paradise Road, which was closed to the public since the fire started, reopened to residents on Thursday. East Camino Cielo remains closed to everyone except residents, between Highway 154 and Santa Barbara city limits at Gibraltar Road.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli 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.

Los Padres National Forest officials announced wilderness closures Friday due to impacts of the Rey Fire. Click to view larger
Los Padres National Forest officials announced wilderness closures Friday due to impacts of the Rey Fire.  (Los Padres National Forest photo)

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