Sunday, August 16, 2009

CA-LPF- La Brea - Wildland Fire(Chaparral) 84,150 acres, 25%

Fire officials say they have downgraded some of the mandatory evacuation order areas to evacuation warnings.

The following areas have been downgraded:

All of Tepusquet Canyon, from Santa Maria Mesa Road to Highway 166
All of Colson Canyon, including Blazing Saddles Drive
All of Ruiz Canyon
Buckhorn Canyon Road
Pine Canyon Road

Officials say an evacuation warning means residents may return to their homes, but they should also be prepared to leave if the warning status changes.

Residents returning to these areas are asked to use extreme caution.
La Brea Fire Hot Spot, Burned areas, and Perimeter Map

Update: Weather Conditions for LPF #3 RAWS - TR154
Current time: August 16, 2009 - 0:45 PDT
Most Recent Observations at August 16, 2009 - 0:21 PDT

0:21 Max since Midnight Min since Midnight 24 Hour Max 24 Hour Min
Temperature 52.0° F 52.0 at 0:21 52.0 at 0:21 85.0 at 13:21 39.0 at 5:21
Dew Point 46.0° F 46.0 at 0:21 46.0 at 0:21 51.4 at 19:21 35.2 at 5:21
Relative Humidity 80% 80 at 0:21 80 at 0:21 92 at 7:21 26 at 12:21
Wind Speed 0 mph 0 at 0:21 0 at 0:21 7 at 19:21 0 at 1:21
Wind Gust 0 mph 0 at 0:21 0 at 0:21 18 at 19:21 0 at 1:21
Solar Radiation 0.0 W/m*m 0.0 at 0:21 0.0 at 0:21 891.0 at 14:21 0.0 at 1:21
Fuel Temperature 51.0° F 51.0 at 0:21 51.0 at 0:21 94.0 at 14:21 38.0 at 5:21
10 hr Fuel Moisture 55 gm 55 at 0:21 55 at 0:21 55 at 22:21 4 at 17:21
Battery voltage 12.60 volt 12.60 at 0:21 12.60 at 0:21 13.60 at 9:21 12.50 at 4:2

On day eight of the La Brea Fire, fire managers are feeling cautiously optimistic. The fire is now 25% contained after long days of fire line construction and burning operations in several geographical areas along the fire perimeter. This is significant considering the rapid growth of the fire and the recent history of fire events on the Los Padres National Forest. Hard work and long hours by firefighters utilizing aircraft, bulldozers, engines, and handcrews is paying off. This type of progress is difficult without a significant favorable change in weather conditions or without the fire behavior becoming less menacing and easier to manage. In the past 24 hours, the fire behavior has continued to be aggressive, but due to the hard work of the men and women on the fireline, good progress has been made. Firefighters continue to battle not only the fire, but the elements, fatigue, and challenging terrain to gain the upper hand on the La Brea Fire. A major effort to improve existing containment perimeter using dozers and burning out remaining brush will be made today. This should close the gaps that exist on the west side. Substantial progress has been made from the northwest area beginning at Buckhorn Canyon, running southeast to Horse Canyon. The majority of this line is in and holding. Fire engines remain in place along Tepusquet Road to protect structures if the fire should jump the fuel break. The north line will be improved and mopped up today as crews work to hold the fireline along the Treplett fuel break. The completion of the Schoolhouse Canyon dozer line is a high priority on the east end up to Sierra Madre Ridge Road and should be finished today. The challenge remains on the southeast portion of the burn in the San Rafael Wilderness because of the lack of acceptable ridgelines or solid points to build containment line. Fixed wing aircraft and three helibases are supporting the fire, one at Santa Ynez Airport, one at Santa Maria Airport, and a supply helibase at the Incident Command Post. A retardant base is located at Spanish Ranch in Cuyama Valley. Structure protection will continue in the Tepusquet and Pine Canyon areas, and along Foothill Road in Cuyama Valley. An evacuation order is in effect for all of Tepusquet Canyon, from Santa Maria Mesa Road to Highway 166, all of Colson and Ruiz Canyons, and the Blazing Saddles community Pine and Buckhorn Canyons, along Forest Roads 11N04 and 11N05, affecting 10 residences. An additional evacuation order issued is in effect for the following areas: Western Boundary: Sierra Madre Road; Southern Boundary: Cottonwood Road; Eastern Boundary: Highway 166; Northern Boundary: Spoor Canyon. This area includes Moon and Eckert Canyons. An Evacuation Warning exists for areas bound by Cottonwood Road and Wasioja Road, and between Highway 166 and Sierra Madre Road. The New Cuyama High School and Benjamin Foxen Elementary School are currently the designated temporary emergency shelter staffed by the Santa Barbara County Chapter of the American Red Cross. If you need assistance with the evacuation and sheltering of animals, please contact the animal hotline at 681-4332. Weather for today will be mostly sunny with temperatures in the lower elevations of 88 - 98 and 80 - 88 on the ridgetops. Ridgetop winds will be north to northeast at 10 - 18 mph in the afternoon with gusts to 20 mph. Tonoght will be mostly clear with lows of 54 - 60 in the lower elevations and 60 - 70 on the ridges. CityName=Santa+Maria&state=CA&site=LOX&textField1=34.821&textField2=-120.41 Due to emergency vehicle traffic and congestion on Highway 166, the public is urged to seek an alternate route and to use extra caution when traveling the highway. A well attended community meeting was held tonight at Benjamin Foxen Elementary School in Sisquoc. Speakers included both incident commanders, local sheriff and local fire department representatives. The Fire Investigation Team is asking for the public's assistance to help establish the cause of the La Brea Fire. If you have any information regarding the La Brea please contact Forest Service Fire Investigators at 805-686-5074. Investigators have spoken to witnesses, but are still seeking additional information that may assist with the ongoing investigation. The emergency closure order is still in effect for portions of the Los Padres National Forest in and around the fire. For more information, please contact Fire Information at (805) 961-5770 from 6am-10pm Temporary flight restrictions have been put in place over the fire and surrounding area. map ims/html/cc/scale2/tile 1 2.html Engines: 108 Crews: 59 Dozers: 25 Helicopters: 14 Watertenders: 38 Total personnel: 1980

Basic Information

Incident TypeWildfire
CauseUnder Investigation
Date of OriginSaturday August 08th, 2009 approx 02:50 PM
Location21 Miles east of Santa Maria
Incident CommanderPincha - Tulley / Lewin

Current Situation

Total Personnel2,152
Size84,150 acres
Percent Contained25%
Fuels Involved

Primarily Chaparral with areas of grass and timber.

Fire Behavior

Burn operations from Buckhorn Ridge to Colson Quarry had favorable winds and were successful through the afternoon. Several interior pockets of unburned fuel exhibited rapid rates of spread.

Significant Events

Significant progress was made from Colson Canyon Quarry north towards Buckhorn Ridge in the Tepesquet Area. Crews continued to hold and mop up along the north portion of the Treplett fuel break by Miranda Pine. Due to the proximity of these communities to the burn out operations, structure protection continued along Foothill Road in Cottonwood, Pine, and Tepusquet Canyons.


Planned Actions

Crews will hold and mop up along Sierra Madre Road and the north portion of the Treplett fuel break. Crews will continue construction of direct fire line and burn out along Rattlesnake Canyon east to South Fork Canyon. Construct direct and indirect line from Kelly Canyon north. Provide structure protection along Foothill Road in Cottonwood Canyon, Pine Canyon, and Tepusquet.

Growth Potential


Terrain Difficulty



A significant portion of the reported increase in acreage was the result of successful bure operations with existing fire perimeters. Evacuation orders are still in place. The one structure destroyed by the La Brea Fire awas the non-operational White Oaks Ranger Station. Fire is being managed under unified command with CAL FIRE and California Interagency Management Team 3.

Current Weather

Wind Conditions8-12 (g22) mph NE
Temperature56-61 degrees

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