Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

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Update by edhat staff
9:00 a.m., October 20, 2021

The Alisal Fire is now 97% contained at 17,281 acres. There were 12 residences destroyed, 1 residence damaged, and 1 other structure damaged.

Gaviota, Refugio, and El Capitan State Beaches/Campgrounds will remain closed until October 24 while firefighting personnel utilizes them for staging, housing, and access.

All Evacuation Orders and Warnings for the Alisal Fire have now been canceled.

On Tuesday, crews focused on Droppoint 40 on the fire’s northwest corner where ridge tops continued to hold heat in the oak woodland understory. Firefighters increased depth on containment lines to the north and completely secured the fire’s edge to the east along the old Sherp Fire burn. Motorists are reminded to err on the side of caution when transiting California Highway 101 as firefighters continue to monitor the fire’s southern edge. Firefighters mopped up and secured the last section of heat to the southwest around canyons around the Cañada Del Molino. 

For today [Wednesday], overall fire activity continues to diminish due to increased humidity. Fire suppression efforts have transitioned to repair. Infrared imaging indicates fuels continue to hold some heat remaining near Droppoint 40, so today’s priority is to secure that last edge of the fire above the Arroyo Hondo to the northwest. Firefighters continue to maintain the fire within the current footprint.  

A slight warming and drying trend is anticipated through Thursday. Cooler weather is forecasted from Friday through the weekend, with a chance of some light showers on Friday and Saturday. Expect more significant rainfall by late Sunday into Monday, which could potentially cause mud and debris flows on roads within the fire perimeter.

Evacuations: Canceled

The Evacuation Order for the area west of Arroyo Hondo to intersection of Hwy 101 and Hwy 1, the Arroyo Hondo Canyon and Refugio Canyon, and the area between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo has been cancelled. Take caution when returning home as emergency personnel remain in the area.

Southern California Edison (SCE) is in the process of replacing power poles and will continue inspections via helicopters throughout the week. This area is restricted to residents only. Others without proof of residency or official business in the area may be cited by law enforcement. More information is available on ReadySBC.org.

Click here to access the Interactive Evacuation Map.

The Evacuation Center at Dos Pueblos High School has been put on a warm/standby status. Evacuees needing assistance can contact the American Red Cross at (833) 583-3111. For animal evacuation assistance, call (805) 681-4332.

Closures: 

Los Padres National forest has issued a closure of the Santa Barbara Ranger District in the area surrounding the fire. The closure expires Nov. 16, 2021. A map highlighting the closed area is at www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.  

Acre Size: Estimated 17,281 acres

Containment: 97%

Structures Affected: 12 residences destroyed, 1 residence damaged, and 1 other structure damaged


Update by edhat staff
8:00 a.m., October 17, 2021

Today's main priority is to contain patches of heat remaining to the northwest edge of the fire. Crews will also focus on holding the rest of the fire’s footprint. Crews will continue to use aviation assets as conditions allow.  

Onshore flow will strengthen across the area, bringing cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity. Southerly and up-valley winds will prevail through today with gusts around 20 mph. Later this evening and into tomorrow, a dry cold front will sweep across the area, delivering even cooler temperatures and higher humidity. It will, however, also bring strong northwest to north winds to the fire with gusts up to 25-35 mph.

On Saturday, warm temperatures mixed with very dry and windy conditions resulted in an increase in isolated fire activity. A spot fire approximately an acre and a half popped up outside a retardant line on the northwestern corner. Firefighters immediately contained it with dozer and hand lines while aircraft doused it with water. Crews mopped up containment lines near Reagan Ranch.

Young fuels left behind by the 2016 Sherpa Fire have lent themselves to steady progress to the east, where rugged terrain pose challenges to firefighters and their heavy equipment. Along California 101 — which reopened Oct. 14 — firefighters fortified containment and continued mop-up efforts. Motorists along Hwy 101 are encouraged to give firefighters and their equipment wide berth when passing.

Additionally, on the northeastern corner, an area less than an acre slopped over the perimeter, but crews constructed handline and flanked hose around it to stop fire activity. 

Evacuations:

The Evacuation Warning for the area west of Highway 101, including Gaviota Beach and Hollister Ranch properties, has been cancelled. Take caution when returning home as emergency personnel remain in the area. Stay alert to changing conditions.

Gaviota, Refugio, and El Capitan State Beaches/Campgrounds will remain closed until October 24 while firefighting personnel utilize them for staging, housing, and access.

The Evacuation ORDER remains in place at this time. 

  • Evacuation Order still in effect: area west of Arroyo Hondo to intersection of Hwy 101 and Hwy 1. Evacuation order still in effect for Arroyo Hondo Canyon, Refugio Canyon, and the area between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo.

Click here to access the Interactive Evacuation Map.

The Evacuation Center at Dos Pueblos High School has been put on a warm/standby status. Evacuees needing assistance can contact the American Red Cross at (833) 583-3111. For animal evacuation assistance, call (805) 681-4332.

Update by edhat staff
6:15 p.m., October 16, 2021

The Alisal Fire has now burned 17,253 acres and is now 53% contained. As of Saturday evening, the evacuation warning for the area west of Highway 101, including Gaviota Beach and Hollister Ranch properties, has been cancelled. The evacuation order is still in effect and the evacuation center at Dos Pueblos High School is on standby.

This afternoon, warm and very dry and windy conditions resulted in increased activity on the Alisal Fire. A spot fire popped up on the other side of the retardant line on the northwestern corner, which is approximately an acre and a half in size. Firefighters responded with aircraft dropping water on it. Additionally, on the northeastern corner there was an area less than an acre that slopped out of the perimeter, but it has been lined and has hose completely around it.


Update by edhat staff
7:00 a.m., October 16, 2021

On Friday, fire crews contained isolated fire activity near Camino Cielo caused by higher temperatures and reduced humidity. Along the northern edge of the fire, helicopters dowsed heat with water using super scoopers. Crews mopped up and cold-trailed areas to the east near the old Sherpa Fire burn scar where much of the fire is going out on its own. Along California 101 — which reopened Oct. 14 — firefighters fortified containment and continued mop-up efforts. Motorists along Hwy 101 can expect to see firefighting equipment and vehicles and are encouraged to drive cautiously as crews continue work here. Helicopters attacked the fire into the night to the east near Gaviota. 

For today (Saturday), the main priority is to contain patches of heat remaining along the northern edge of the fire. Crews will also continue to focus on maintaining the rest of the fire’s footprint and ensure the fire holds where it has been contained. Crews will continue to use aviation assets as conditions allow.  

Warm and dry conditions will continue through Saturday. On Sunday, a pattern change will occur as a dry cold front approaches the area. Expect cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity on Sunday. The dry cold front will pass over the incident Sunday night and Monday morning, bringing even cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity. However, the passage of the cold front will bring some strong northwest to north winds to the area on Monday with forecasted gusts up to 25-35 mph. 


Update by edhat staff
7:00 p.m., October 15, 2021

The Alisal Fire stands at 16,901 acres burned and is now 41% contained with Highway 101 fully reopened in both directions. 439 structures have been threatened, 3 residences and 2 other out buildings destroyed.

There are 1,731 total personnel on the scene and the estimated date of full containment is Monday, October 25.

On Thursday, fire crews made significant progress resulting in the reopening of Highway 101 and the Union Pacific Railroad. Both had been shut down as a result of the fire’s spread. Firefighters began to mop-up around much of the fire, including Camino Cielo, Refugio Canyon and along Highway 101.

Evacuation Order Update

Evacuation Order for residences along Arroyo Quemada Ln, & Evacuation Warning for area east of El Capitan Beach Park, west of Dos Pueblos Canyon Rd, & south of West Camino Cielo has been cancelled. Take caution returning home as emergency personnel remain in the area.


Photo: Mike Eliason / SBCFD

Firefighters “mop-up” after the fire has been controlled by extinguishing or removing burning material near the control line. Crews secured the perimeter along Reagan Ranch and Refugio Canyon. Hot shot crews also began to cold trail areas along the old Sherpa Fire burn scars, which is a method of controlling a partly dead fire edge by carefully inspecting with the hand for heat to detect any fire. And along Hwy 101, crews removed hazard trees, while helicopters engaged the fire’s edge. The public is reminded to drive cautiously on Hwy 101 as crews continue to monitor the area. Last night, firefighters responded to isolated fire activity on the western most portion of the fire. 

For today [Friday], the priorities will be to secure the fire’s eastern edge along the old Sherpa Fire burn scar, address the western portion near the Cañada San Onofre, and ensure the fire holds where it has been contained. Crews will continue to use aviation assets as conditions allow.  

Winds are the primary force behind fire growth. Expect winds to switch back and forth from a northerly to southerly direction throughout the day with gusts up to 20 mph. Wind switches, warm temperatures and decreasing humidity combined have the potential to increase fire activity. Strong down sloping winds will continue to impact fire behavior over the next several days. 

Expanded Evacuation Orders

The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management – the office managing evacuations — issued a new Evacuation Order and Evacuation Warning Oct. 13 at 11:45 p.m.  

  • Evacuation Order: For the area west of Arroyo Hondo to the intersection of Hwy 101 and Hwy 1, including Vista Del Mar School and Gaviota Beach.  

  • Evacuation Warning: Additional evacuation warning for all properties within Hollister Ranch area.  

Evacuations:

  • Evacuation Order UPDATE 10/13/2021 at 11:45PM: for the area west of Arroyo Hondo to intersection of Hwy 101 and Hwy 1, including Vista Del Mar School and Gaviota Beach. Evacuation order still in effect for Arroyo Hondo Canyon, Refugio Canyon, and the area between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo.  Please leave the area immediately.
  • Evacuation Warning: UPDATE 10/13/2021 at 11:45PM – Additional evacuation warning for all properties within Hollister Ranch area. Warning still in effect for the area east of El Capitan Beach State Park, west of Dos Pueblos Canyon Rd, and south of West Camino Cielo. Be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.      

Update by edhat staff
7:00 p.m., October 14, 2021

The Alisal Fire stands at 16,801 acres burned and 11% containment. Highway 101 reopened in both directions at 6:00 p.m. Thursday.

A new evacuation order was implemented late Wednesday that expands west, including Gaviota & Gaviota Beach.

The estimated date of full containment is Monday, October 25.

On Wednesday, fire crews held the fire to the north along West Camino Cielo. They completed a successful burnout operation from Refugio Road to the Camino Cielo. The fire also slowed along its eastern flank in the younger fuels from the 2016 Sherpa Fire. Winds drove the fire westward forcing evacuations west of Arroyo Hondo to the intersection of California Highway 101 and Highway 1 towards Gaviota. 


Photo: Mike Eliason / SBCFD

The plan for today (Thursday), will be to halt the spread to the northeast above Refugio Canyon. Crews will continue to use aviation assets as conditions allow. On the western edge, firefighters will work on keeping the fire from crossing Hwy 101 at Gaviota. Focus will be on slowing the fire’s expansion to the west and re-opening Hwy 101. Crews continue to engage the Refugio area, as well as clearing downed trees along rail lines. Additional aircraft will amplify efforts beginning today. 

Winds are the primary force behind fire growth. Expect wind-swithes throughout the day. Northeast winds switch to westerly in the afternoon and back to northeast in the evening.  Strong down sloping winds will continue to impact fire behavior over the next several evenings. 

 

 

 


Update by edhat staff
1:30 p.m., October 13, 2021

Highway 101 is still closed in both directions and evacuation orders remain. The highest priority of fire officials is to open Highway 101 and the railway along with protecting the Tajiguas Landfill, oil production facilities, and state parks.

Aircraft is making drops on the north end of the fire but is unable to make drops on the flanks due to high winds. The winds have gusted to up to 70 mph and were able to push the fire from West Camino Cielo to the ocean in 3.5 hours. The winds can shift from sundowners to a diurnal pattern which can change the direction of the fire and is a dangerous factor for firefighters.

Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig stated they expect to see a "see-sawing" behavior of the fire as the offshore winds will push it up further into the canyons and we can expect to see fire crews in this area for months to come.

On Wednesday evening, fire command will be transferred to the Federal Government's Type 1 Incident Management Team with a 58 personnel leadership team overseeing operations.


Photo: Mike Eliason / SBCFD


Having jumped the four lanes of Highway 101, flames continue to burn early Tuesday morning along the Gaviota Coast. (Photo: Mike Eliason / SBCFD)


Update by edhat staff
5:30 p.m., October 11, 2021

Alisal Fire: Highway 101 will be closed between Hwy 1 and Winchester/Cathedral Oaks in both directions.  Fire is approaching the freeway.

The California Highway Patrol Incident Page is reporting motorists are leaving their cars and walking to the beach as well as motorists bypassing the highway closure and driving in the wrong direction to get out of the area.


Alisal Fire (Photo by AD)

 


Update by Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management
5:00 p.m., October 11, 2021

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department has issued an Evacuation Order for the area of Arroyo Hondo Canyon and Refugio Canyon west of Goleta due to a wildfire.  This area includes Refugio State Beach. Please leave the area immediately.  Click here to access the Interactive Evacuation Map.

  • For animal evacuation assistance, call 805-681-4332.
  • A Temporary Evacuation Point (TEP) will be established at the Dos Pueblos High School upper parking lot at 7266 Alameda Ave, Goleta, CA 93117.  Evacuees can go to this location to get information from personnel on site.


By Scanner Andrew
2:30 p.m., October 11, 2021

Firefighters are making access to a vegetation fire that has started somewhere off of Refugio Road, south of Alisal Lake.

Live at #AlisalFire https://t.co/gwbVAZDOYH

— SB Scanner (@SBIncidents) October 11, 2021

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317 Comments

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John Wiley Oct 14, 2021 12:39 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Two helicopters have been working the Gav. coast with sea water, just East of the old refinery near the little stretch of Calle Real for quite a while now. Must be some stubborn hotspots there that the ground crews are struggling with.

a-1634240877 Oct 14, 2021 12:47 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

@Mini, you can email the staff with any questions and they respond pretty quickly. (ed@edhat.com) They're very small and are unable to report 24/7, ya know because of sleep, but it's better to ask directly than make a snarky comment. With their small budget they're still somehow able to provide great updated info compared to other local media with the big bucks.

Also a BIG THANK YOU to John and Scanner Andrew for all the great reporting.

gizmo1 Oct 14, 2021 10:53 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Whew I was worried thank God the federal response team is going to be here with 58 personal instead of 12 county personnel that should help I’m going by to invent a batck automatic back patting apparatus-And make millions sell it to the government

John Wiley Oct 14, 2021 01:00 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Watching air traffic, I just saw a cool black T-38 military (probably USAF) trainer jet do a low pass at SMX. Bet the families there watching all the tankers had fun with that. :D

John Wiley Oct 14, 2021 01:49 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Smoke plume changes are also interesting to watch on the near-real time sat here: - https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/smcd/spb/aq/AerosolWatch/

CoastWatch Oct 14, 2021 01:02 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

With the FEDS now running the fire, be prepared for an EXTENDED burn - They literally have FED money to burn on these incidents (soon to be a conflagration)... 101 will be closed for quite a while...

mkaney Oct 14, 2021 03:37 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

One of my maps is now showing 101 shutdown has been expanded north to Old Cost Highway (headed out to Nojoqui park). Have not been able to confirm yet though

John Wiley Oct 14, 2021 03:46 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

The spotters have been passing there, and a relief spotter just in from SMX did a swing past there so maybe they've been watching something.

a-1634252137 Oct 14, 2021 03:55 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Oops, made the mistake of reading some comments. Lot of I’ll informed armchair quarterbacking going on. I’m out of here.

John Wiley Oct 14, 2021 04:03 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Air Quality is deteriorating some, as wind at some levels is bringing smoke in from the NW again. There's a gentle onshore breeze here 154@Foothill, but it's variable and there's some mixing. Might want to keep aware of it if you're concerned about AQI health issues.

John Wiley Oct 14, 2021 04:20 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

10 helicopters buzzing around out there now, including the Sikorsky S-61-N amphibious night equipped one and the two lovely loud Chinooks that took off from SBA a few minutes ago.

John Wiley Oct 14, 2021 04:27 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

That area above the beach East of the old Gav. refinery has been getting lots of sea water drops, and now the S61 and both Chinooks seem to be getting fresh water from a pond on the S. side of La Paseda on the West side of Gav.Pass to join that fight.

John Wiley Oct 14, 2021 05:11 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Down to 8 helos + spotter plane. Three helos are working an area below Reagan Ranch, the smaller of them drinking from the R.Ranch pond. The other five are still working that Gaviota area. Still some tenacious hotspots it seems, and a fair amount of smoke.

Byzantium Oct 14, 2021 08:26 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Didn't Alisal Ranch just feature a special BBQ weekend with lady chefs, and they often include a breakfast horse ride to the lake?

a-1634353947 Oct 15, 2021 08:12 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Are you just trolling or do you have a rational point to make? Are you implying their actions caused -- anything?
You have stooped to a new level.

John Wiley Oct 14, 2021 11:58 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Four helos working the fire now,. Four hotspots show on sat detections within the last 7 hours (one near Nojoqui less than 3 hours ago but helos aren't working it). The fast SIKORSKY S-76 command helo has been circling three areas of interest on the North edge. The other three helos are getting water from that pond on the West side of Gav. Pass near the coast, and dropping at the North three branches of a creek at the West end of the San Onofre Beach Trail on OpenStreetMaps just East of the old Gav. refinery. AQI readings around town are generally worse but inside the Moderate range. Aviation surface wind forecast in the fire area is currently light and variable until Monday morning. I'm out, wishing a safe night for the amazing night crews and a restful sleep for everyone else.

a-1634354065 Oct 15, 2021 08:14 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Thanks again, John, for reporting. Great to hear from you. I hope you continue to post about Every Day Happenings Around Town.

a-1634356500 Oct 15, 2021 08:55 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Did it take Edhat 13 hours to post this? I read elsewhere that 101 opened, to whatever extent, around 6 p.m. Thursday, October 14.

Eliason's tweet: 6:55 PM · Oct 14, 2021
https://twitter.com/EliasonMike/status/1448829776718753794

My apologies if Edhat made a specific post about it. I know they are a low-staff operation, that's part of the reason they are community news. I'm not blaming them.

Edhat Staff Oct 15, 2021 09:37 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

It was posted previously here: https://www.edhat.com/news/highway-101-is-now-open

If you have other questions, you can email us at ed@edhat.com so we can answer your question directly.
-ed staff

John Wiley Oct 15, 2021 11:24 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Yes! Quite a nice surprise to see our Gaviota Coast Air Force going pedal to the metal. With the air so clear and no recent satellite fire detections, I hadn't bothered to look until just now. Even the "heavy iron" is on the job - the big DC10 Tanker 914 just flew in all the way from Sacramento and did a drop, and sister ship 910 is active on the ground at SMX along with two of the Bae jets. I count 9 helicopters and two spotter planes too. Great to see AQI in the green at all but a very few sensors.

John Wiley Oct 15, 2021 12:12 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Some aircraft leaving. Just heard a Chinook headed out, Tanker 910 is headed toward San Bernardino, and we're down to 7 helicopters on the fire area. Tanker 914 is headed for a drop, and two of the Bae jets have their transponders on at SMX so maybe the jets are laying a PhosChek perimeter while helos go after the dwindling number of main remaining hotspots so that ground crews can focus on final mop up. All this bodes well for continuing AQI improvements and full containment even if high winds return.

John Wiley Oct 15, 2021 11:35 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Aerial SURVEYS?! Right now there's a King Air twin fixed wing flying a grid pattern along the VAFB coast from Pt. Arguello to Pt. Conception. Before that, while the fire was still raging with lots of air support flying to/from SMX it was surprising to see two aircraft flying overlapping grids E/W across their path along 101. Anyone know what these surveys are about? The current one at VAFB covers a lot of both near shore waters and all of the coastline, so it's apparently surveying land and sea floor.

John Wiley Oct 15, 2021 11:47 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Ah, it's N300WQ, a BE30 1984 Beech 300 Super King Air doing a hi-res laser coastal surveys for NOAA. Don't know what the two doing the grid across 101 were about, but as I recall they were at 4k' or so and thus probably terrain surveys maybe also with laser. For photo surveys it would seem likely cheaper to buy hi-res satellite photos.

John Wiley Oct 15, 2021 11:50 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

I found these articles: - https://autobala.com/have-you-recently-been-scanned-with-green-rays-from-the-california-skythis-is-what-i-did/211779/ -and- https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/42754/scanned-by-a-green-beam-of-light-from-the-sky-in-california-recently-heres-what-did-it -and- https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/11/16/1913

John Wiley Oct 15, 2021 12:49 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Good new AQI/Fire update from APCD, with details on fire progress and a Halloween mention of "creeping" that may tweak your fancy. :)

John Wiley Oct 15, 2021 03:08 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

They're dipping at Cachuma if anyone wants to look or send Ed a pic. They staged out of SMX, so folks there may have seen them too. Looks like they're creating a localized deluge.

John Wiley Oct 15, 2021 03:21 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

The AxisS.Y.Peak webcam has a good view now too, and as the two Amphibians cross the ridge from Cachuma they might show as tiny specs if zoomed way in.

John Wiley Oct 15, 2021 06:13 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Yes, 586DV and some of the other spotters are up forever it seems. Maybe they change flight crews in flight. They're basically on site ATC in that constant swarm. I'd like to listen in, but haven't managed to yet.

John Wiley Oct 15, 2021 06:27 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Watch out for smoke tonight. It got pretty thick, lots of it went offshore, often we get an evening/night onshore breeze, and some of it comes in from the West. There was a Purple Air sensor at Franchesci showing 295 this morning, 186 later, 82 a little while ago and 70 a minute ago. Pretty steady breeze from the West at 154 & Foothill, and the UCSB webcam pointed at the fire area shows smoke on campus thick enough to haze the building next door. Not healthy to breathe that stuff.

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