Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 11:38 am | Fair 67º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Minimal Fire Activity Expected as Whittier Fire Winding Down

Blaze remained at 18,430 acres burned; containment at 87% Saturday morning

As the Whittier Fire winds down, crews are pulling hoses off the fire lines. A California Conservation Corps crew, above, rolls up hoses and prepares them for shipment back to the warehouse for use on other blazes. Click to view larger
As the Whittier Fire winds down, crews are pulling hoses off the fire lines. A California Conservation Corps crew, above, rolls up hoses and prepares them for shipment back to the warehouse for use on other blazes. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

The Whittier fire continues to wind down, fire officials said Friday night, adding that they anticipate minimal fire activity to continue over the weekend as full containment of the 13-day blaze creeps closer.

The size of the blaze burning in the Santa Ynez Mountains between the coastal area west of Goleta on the south and Lake Cachuma on the north was unchanged Saturday morning at 18,430 acres; containment rose to 87 percent overnight.

“It’s pretty much wash, rinse, repeat,” fire behavior analyst Dennis Burns said at Friday night's informational briefing for firefighters, explaining that crews are methodically constructing direct containment lines along the front country.

Flames may be visible at night in the burn area, Burns said, but it's fire activity that won't “challenge and push” crews.

The marine influence, including low clouds and fog, was expected again late Friday night in the lower terrain, with clear skies in the higher elevations.

Winds of 2 to 5 mph wind were forecast, with gusts to 15 mph. The area near Santa Ynez Peak was expected to see wind gusts up to 35 mph, according to fire meteorologist James Dudley.

“We are going to see some stable weather, and we don’t expect to see an increase in fire activity,” Larry Savage, deputy incident commander, told Noozhawk. “As the seasonal weather comes through, the wind might find a little ember and show glow on the hills — but we have crews at night monitoring.

A map of the Whittier Fire as of Saturday morning. Black line represents containment, while red indicates open fire line. Click to view larger
A map of the Whittier Fire as of Saturday morning. Black line represents containment, while red indicates open fire line.

"Any of the glows are in the fireline. We are confident in our contingency lines in place.”

Personnel assigned to the fire were down to 1,041 Saturday morning.

Crews are working on patrol, mop up and suppression repair on all other sections of the fire. Repairs include backhaul of equipment and construction of water bars for erosion control.

Evacuation warnings were lifted Sunday.  

The fire has destroyed 16 residences and 30 structures and damaged one home and six structures. The cause remains under investigation.

The target date for full containment of the blaze that erupted July 8 is July 30. 

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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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