Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

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

The Alisal Fire is now 78% contained at 17,253 acres. Gaviota, Refugio, and El Capitan State Beaches/Campgrounds will remain closed until October 24 while firefighting personnel utilizes them for staging, housing, and access.

Few hot spots remain. 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.

Traffic Closures: None

Acre Size: Estimated 17,253 acres

Containment: 78%

Structures Threatened: 439 structures have been threatened, 3 residences and 2 other out buildings destroyed.


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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315 Comments

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FondofSB Oct 13, 2021 11:55 AM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

To all the critics of my proposal : your current approaches (to do essentially nothing from the air) sure works well, RIGHT ?
How many acres went up in flames already this year ? How many lives lost ? How many BILLIONS of property damage ?
So , your point : let's not try ANYTHING else, right ? let's keep applauding former governor Brown when he said : "well, that's just the new NORMAL" !!!
NO it does not have to be the new normal !
And if flying squadrons of water bombardiers might have problems in SOME weather circumstances there are also MANY weather conditions under which they would be perfectly capable of flying and dumping water in 5 minutes rotations.
There were NO abnormal circumstances during the Thomas fire and with lake Piru AND Cassitas within 5 minutes flight and with plenty of space to do the scooping that fire which destroyed 23 lives would have been put out in a couple hours instead of 3 weeks.
But go ahead : keep advocating for doing nothing !

a-1634170349 Oct 13, 2021 05:12 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

4:02 - Yes, you've shown that you don't change your mind, and do not have anything close to a sound argument - just polemics.

PitMix Oct 13, 2021 04:21 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

The Thomas fire blew up in Ventura on a windy night and no way the drops were going to stop that. Took about 2 hours to run from Santa Paula to the Ventura Foothills.

Mother Nature bats last, and laughs at the best laid plans of mice and men.

FondofSB Oct 13, 2021 04:09 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

John Wiley :
The Thomas fire cost an estimated 10 (or so) Billion dollars and about 30 lives.
That is way beyond the cost of any air bombardier squadrons, even by bureaucrats standards.
And this cost repeats itself (and worse) year after year in California and NOTHING serious is done about it (beyond "lamenting about climate change" !).
The bombardiers might not have been enough to fight the FULL BLOWN Thomas fire, but : They would have helped and my whole argument is that having them would have PREVENTED the fire from growing beyond a few hundred acres and they would NEVER have gone beyond.

FondofSB Oct 13, 2021 04:02 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

S.B.Observer :
My obvious answer : "only idiots don't change their minds".
And when real idiots are unable to discuss sound arguments they resort to what you do : insult their interlocutor.

John Wiley Oct 13, 2021 03:28 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Pretty frustrating to see less aerial assault on fires like the Thomas. My guess is that the state has to justify the large expense of keeping a fleet of aircraft on call, against the ability to use them in the mountainous fires that predominate in CA. It's been encouraging to see the fleet being updated and expensive tech improvements added. Many recent fires have been nipped in the bud, exactly as you suggested, thanks to increased aircraft standby for rapid response. As for water tankers, keep in mind that they don't carry nearly enough water to help with the likes of the Thomas fire and unlike helicopters can't fly low level in anything beyond predictably mild turbulence. Even the helicopters couldn't safely fly this fire until winds calmed down. Also, water drops aren't as helpful to ground crews as PhosChek containment lines - especially on big fires.

a-1634156968 Oct 13, 2021 01:29 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Flying in mountainous terrain with strong and gusting wind shifting directions is well beyond entertaining for air crews. To be effective, water or PhosChek must be dropped close to the ground and in a specific location (i.e. close to the ground and on target). Anyone who truly believes this to be possible might consider demonstrating it, but hopefully not where an aircraft crash would add considerable explosive fuel to a raging fire and critically endanger ground crews.

GeneralTree Oct 13, 2021 01:22 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

I just spoke with an Air Force pilot and posed your argument. He said "Are they going to develop a new type of water or fire retardant? Last time I checked water and retardant gets spread so badly in the wind it has zero effect on the fire."

justabrain Oct 13, 2021 12:07 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

There should be more investment in modern fire fighting tools, more robust, powerful ways to stop fires as quickly as possible under all earthy conditions. It seems a lot easier to do this than rocket science and alien searching.

John Wiley Oct 12, 2021 10:58 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Unhealthy air! I.V. particulates hit high Unhealthy level 174 at 7pm then dropped to low Unhealthy 109, and the smoke sites all show the plume shifting to and fro. As of 10pm Hollister near the Sandpiper was high Moderate 79, even though other sensors show low Healthy levels (i.e. El Encanto Heights at 63). Some of the smoke blown offshore circled around in our "coastal eddy" and came back. We could smell the smoke downtown at the farmers market at 5pm, and put on our N95 masks. When it eased up a little we found even our 3-layer cloth covid masks eliminated the mild smoke smell. Bottom line is it's fluctuating quickly with the wind area by area. Looks like it's crucial for health to close our windows and take other precautions, especially for people sensitive to smoke. Some of the particulates are quite small and can get deep into our lungs, potentially causing life threatening conditions even years or decades later. We closed the house up and closed rooms we're not using. I've fired up our home-made air filter (box fan with 20" high MERV number filter attached with painter's tape on the fan's intake side with the airflow arrow pointing toward the fan). Can't smell the smoke, and our eyes aren't burning now. The site named Purple Air show sensors. Here's a USFS interagency Wildland Fire Smoke link showing lots of sensors with details and hourly history, that takes a while to initially load and then zoom in to our area but then updates quickly: https://fire.airnow.gov/?lat=34.41938000000005&lng=-119.69904999999994&zoom=12

John Wiley Oct 13, 2021 03:35 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

My impression is that both sites have advantages. Expensive fixed sensors are the most accurate but for whatever reason they don't tend to update as often online. For the best info we could all buy sensors and put them online, so we'd know our specific AQI and could compare (and calibrate) with fixed sensors when the air's calm and fixed sensors all agree. My own strategy is to use both online resources, look at the mountains for an air column estimate, and during fires to take precautions when I smell smoke. YMMV :)

sacjon Oct 13, 2021 11:38 AM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

BYZ- you win the award for most off-topic, simple minded comment of the day. For one, cannabis smoke is FAR less dangerous to your health than processed tobacco smoke. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1277837/; https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/01/98519/marijuana-shown-be-less-damaging-lungs-tobacco; to name just a few....) Secondly, a growing percentage of cannabis use is via edibles, topical oils, tinctures, capsules and other smokeless means.

Nice try.

Edette Oct 13, 2021 11:32 AM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

This is my question too. Our Air doesn't seem as reliable as Purple Air for when there is an active fire. But I'm not sure why the city wouldn't use it for keeping people safe. Anyone know?

Edette Oct 13, 2021 11:32 AM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

This is my question too. Our Air doesn't seem as reliable as Purple Air for when there is an active fire. But I'm not sure why the city wouldn't use it for keeping people safe. Anyone know?

sacjon Oct 13, 2021 10:53 AM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

What is more reliable? Purple Air or Air Quality Now (the one the County refers to in its emails)? Purple Air shows Goleta at red (154-168), while Air Quality Now shows us in the green at 45. Just cracked a window and am overwhelmed by the smell of smoke. So, which one is correct?

SBTownie Oct 13, 2021 08:43 AM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Probably both. I don't say that in a disparaging tone, rather with someone who has family in Cal Fire. https://www.invw.org/2020/09/28/overstretched-wildland-firefighters-risk-lung-heart-maladies/#:~:text=A%202019%20risk%20assessment%20estimates,is%20linked%20to%20heart%20disease..

PitMix Oct 13, 2021 08:12 AM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

If the smoke is so unhealthy, why do most of the pics of the firefighters show them not wearing masks? Do they get in the way of their work, or is it some traditional tough-persona they have?

Shasta Guy Oct 12, 2021 08:13 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Per the updated map at National Fire Situational Awareness:

https://maps.nwcg.gov/sa/#/%3F/%3F/34.4975/-120.1199/12

The western edge of the fire is about 3 miles from Gaviota State Park, and the eastern edge is almost due north above El Capitan State Beach way up in the chaparral. Maybe tropical storm “Pamela” off the tip of Baja will send a band of precipitation our way to help us out.

Shasta Guy Oct 12, 2021 07:58 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

The chaparral is going to burn, it needs to burn, nothing can stop that from happening. This fire is happening in a spot that hasn’t burned since 1955. We need to figure out how to burn these places more frequently during safer times of the year, just like the native Americans used to do.

Chip of SB Oct 13, 2021 12:04 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

I agree Shasta. Our current management policy is to put out every fire we possibly can. If you think about it, what that policy really means is fires can only burn if they are intense enough to overwhelm our fire suppression abilities. That’s why fires always seem to happen on the hottest and windiest days of the year in areas that have not burned for decades. Any weaker, less intense fire simply doesn’t meet our requirements. In the name of fire suppression, we effectively promote high intensity catastrophic fires. An alternative approach would be the use of controlled burns to clear vegetation when conditions are favorable, promoting lower intensity fires that are more manageable. This would also dramatically reduce the risk of wildfires destroying structures, the impact of wildfires on air quality, the risk of mudslides, etc. I think we are finally reaching the end of the road with our failed fire suppression policy and I expect planned fires will rapidly become a fixture of our forest management program.

PitMix Oct 13, 2021 08:14 AM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Have built too many houses in wildland areas for us to sit back and just let them burn. The people living in those areas have money and will never let us pursue a policy of letting fires burn or starting controlled burns that often turn uncontrolled.

GeneralTree Oct 12, 2021 10:01 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Burn these places more frequently? Are you saying government should conduct controlled burns on private lands? Mastication of chaparral is an option to control fuel without introducing the risk of a controlled burn going out of control. But quite honestly, your recommendation makes no sense. I'm sorry but populist opinions really don't have any place in forestry management.

Curmudgeon Oct 12, 2021 07:52 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Get Coulson Aviation to send a couple of night-flying Chinooks to make 3,000-gallon water drops if winds permit.
"60 Minutes" just featured a report on this.

FondofSB Oct 12, 2021 06:46 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

California is disastrously underequipped in aerial fire fighting planes.
If they had a small fleet of , say just 5, water scooping water bombardiers on STANDBY at S.B. Airport , those fires could be put out within an hour of starting with water drop rotations of 5 minutes or so.
And this would be infinitely LESS costly than all the disasters produced by such fires !
Remember how much was lost in the Thomas fire 3 years ago and the 23 lives loss with the flood due to the consequences of the Thomas fire?

FondofSB Oct 14, 2021 09:37 AM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

3571 : And how much do you think WE pay when TENS of billions go up in flame EVERY YEAR !!!
How complicated is it to make the choice ?

a-1634213727 Oct 14, 2021 05:15 AM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Why do you say "If they had a small fleet ..."

instead of saying "if WE had a small fleet? Do you live in SB County? Or did you used to?
I don't mean to be argumentative, I'm really curious. It took a second reading to note that.

a-1634213571 Oct 14, 2021 05:12 AM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Fond, it would be wonderful to have a fleet here or in SM, to which I believe fire fighting forces have moved.
How much are you willing to pay to fund this air fire-fighting force? That's why it's shared throughout the state. Aside from weather conditions, there are levels of priority. Again, how much are you, and I, and all CA tax payers, willing to pay to fund your/our whishes?

a-1634213363 Oct 14, 2021 05:09 AM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

I had to say how much I appreciate the term "borate bombers." We must be of a certain generation. I remember when there was reloading at SBA.

kegging1 Oct 13, 2021 08:24 AM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Agreed.
And all it will take is a 1-2” of rain to have debris flows in all the burnt canyons. Pretty much a guarantee on some level.

a-1634102841 Oct 12, 2021 10:27 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

It's not just a matter of pilot skill, although that is a very important element. The fierce winds, updrafts, and turbulence in a wildfire environment, or even just high wind conditions in mountainous areas, could easily force an aircraft on a necessarily low altitude drop to crash into terrain, or even rip the aircraft itself apart.

These borate bombers are generally large, multi-engine, former passenger aircraft that aren't built to handle the G-forces that a small military fighter is built to withstand, nor are the as nimble or as powerful in regards to thrust-to-weight. They do not have cockpit instrument lighting designed for use with night vision systems, although that may be retrofitted.

The Cl-215 and CL-415 amphibious aircraft that you are probably proposing have some of the same limitations, and need fairly long, straight reaches of calm water to scoop successfully, so Cachuma Lake in its present condition probably wouldn't be adequate. That leaves you with dumping salt water on the fires, assuming you can find a calm ocean stretch under windy wildfire weather. Given that they have to worry about floating or partially-submerged obstacles, they would be unlikely to scoop at night. Salt water might be acceptable under dire circumstances, but repeated use would have rather nasty environmental consequences for vegetation and watersheds long after the fire is out.

GeneralTree Oct 12, 2021 09:54 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

"I assure you, top pilots CAN fly through this kind of weather !"
I'm sure good pilots can fly through this kind of weather. There are regulations from doing so for safety to themselves, those below - and crashing would cause more fires. Please engage with the actual community surrounding this emergency - it's really not the time to toot your own horn. We are engaging here for information.

FondofSB Oct 12, 2021 09:10 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Seabird : I have friends who used to land their F14 Tomcats on flatops at night in the middle 80's !
I assure you, top pilots CAN fly through this kind of weather !

FondofSB Oct 12, 2021 09:08 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

SBTOWNIE : The Napa fire last year cost about 10 BILLIONS in damages, not counting the deaths, not counting the displaced and broken lives and wiped out structures.
4 or 5 such plane squadrons spread throughout Ca would get the job done.
Your "Lancaster" planes have what kind of "rotation" ? 3 hours to get back to base, refuel and come back. Water scooping bombarbiers scoop water off the surface of any water resource be it a lake or the ocean. So rotation time is 5 minutes for a fire like that !
Do the math ! To rephrase you : "You can see how quickly that DOES makes financial sense".
But of course I don't expect any creativity or original ideas from the bureaucracy in charge of this.
It is so easier to just come and "lament" on all those human and ecological disasters !

GeneralTree Oct 12, 2021 07:40 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Fond we could have had 50 planes on standby and they would not have been able to fly due to wind/turbulence. I do admire your wanting to aggressively attack the fire though!

Seabird Oct 12, 2021 07:26 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

@FOND, aircraft were unable to fly until this afternoon, because of turbulence/wind conditions. There were several stationed nearby and at the ready. It had NOTHING to do with their availability.

SBTownie Oct 12, 2021 07:20 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

I mean, I like your enthusiasm, but 5 of those planes would cost $175,000,000 plus staffing and fueling and maintenance... and then we'd need them at every airport in the state according to your logic and so... yeah. You can see how quickly that makes no financial sense. The planes can get here quickly from Lancaster, etc. where they are stationed. Sure, maybe we could do with a few more of them. But we cannot place hundreds of millions of dollars of aircraft at every airport in the state so we can spot drop on fires right away. They can't even fly safely in many of the conditions that make fire spread so quickly anyway.

Shasta Guy Oct 12, 2021 04:34 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

Per the updated National Fire Situational Awareness Map, the fire has a spotted 1 mile west towards Gaviota, and its moved east past Refugio Canyon and on the east side of Venadito Canyon.

https://maps.nwcg.gov/sa/#/%3F/%3F/34.5569/-120.1547/12

John Wiley Oct 12, 2021 02:37 PM
Alisal Fire: 17,253 Acres, 78% Containment

One of the small jet fixed wing tankers looks to be preparing for takeoff from SMX, so maybe winds at the fire have dropped enough for some PhosChek drops?

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