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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a-1634212103 Oct 14, 2021 04:48 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Agreed! Please subscribe (in other words, pay) or at least donate! My annual renewal just came up. Gosh, in fire season -- I wonder how THAT happened? ;-)
I started paying for Edhat years ago due to their/our fire coverage.

Scanner Andrew, Tagdes, John Wiley, EVERY ONE of you who posted information, I cannot thank you enough! I've been forced off line since lightning strikes on Monday Oct. 4. Didn't even know about the fire til late Tues, but it blew like heck in my city neighborhood all Monday.

a-1634009897 Oct 11, 2021 08:38 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

I saw that but Los Padres NF updated their inciweb a few minutes ago to 2,000 acres, not 3,000. Wonder who is more accurate?

Shasta Guy Oct 11, 2021 08:53 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

The fire is showing up on the National Fire Situational Map

https://maps.nwcg.gov/sa/#/%3F/%3F/34.5133/-120.0871/10

This map lags by several hours based on when the satellite passes over. The reports from the ground are always quicker, but I always like the NFSA map to see how the fire is reacting to the terrain. I used it to monitor all the fire in Northern California this year only to see 90% of the places I backpacked to be overrun by flames.

John Wiley Oct 11, 2021 10:20 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Winds aloft forecast looks like we may be spared the smoke from this, but current permanent AQI sensors are already showing low Moderate levels of smoke. Maybe because smoke from the North is blowing over the mountains, which would explain why the Ojai sensor has a high Moderate level. https://fire.airnow.gov

John Wiley Oct 11, 2021 10:23 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

The aviation wind forecast also shows wind coming from the East on Friday, which might help firefighters a lot if it's still not contained by then. Judging by all the air attack planes circling the fire this afternoon (unable to drop due to wind & smoke?), once conditions improve they'll go at it hammer and tongs so it could be largely contained by Thursday.

John Wiley Oct 11, 2021 10:35 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

A small plane just out of SBA seems to be touring the fire right now, so maybe there will be some aerial pix on the 11pm news.

ScannerAndrew Oct 12, 2021 01:14 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Not many updates to give right now, last reported size was around 3,700 acres. Expect updated acreage later in the morning around 7 along with more details of the fire.

Shasta Guy Oct 12, 2021 06:47 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

The National Fire Awareness Situational map has a good image of the perimeter of the fire:

https://maps.nwcg.gov/sa/#/%3F/%3F/34.4876/-120.0993/13

Sun Oct 12, 2021 07:26 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Many thanks to the brave fire fighters on the front lines protecting us!!!
With the freezing temperatures, too bad we could not take advantage,use snow makers, and make snow to help fight the fire.....what we really need is the invention of an Ice Lazer, or thousands of drones that drop water....I know too much scifi.....but maybe the future???

Sun Oct 12, 2021 09:36 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Not as far fetched as I thought,
Tahoe ski resorts fighting wildfire with snow guns
https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/tahoe-ski-resorts-fighting-wildfire-with-snow-guns-plus-rivian-s-anti-spac-ipo/ar-AANZ2kU

Shasta Guy Oct 12, 2021 07:32 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Per Santa Barbara County Fire Twitter, the fire is at >6,000 acres, >100 structures threatened, 0% containment as of 7am.

https://twitter.com/EliasonMike/status/1447930470172352519?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

CoastWatch Oct 12, 2021 07:51 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

CHP need to modify the intersection of Calle Real and the 154 with traffic control rather than depending on the normal Signals... This intersection is now the link between North and South County for everything from commuters to Large Trucking...

Sun Oct 12, 2021 08:44 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Update Evacuation Order and Warning Issued for Alisal Fire West of Goleta
Orden de Evacuación y Advertencia emitido para Incendio Alisal al oeste de Goleta
From Ready SBC
https://readysbc.org/2021/10/11/evacuation-warning-alisal-fire-oct-11/
https://sbcoem.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=85bd16aeb11f431787a9ce571096a869

SB1961 Oct 12, 2021 09:29 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

View fire activity, fixed web cameras from Santa Ynez Peak: http://hpwren.ucsd.edu/cameras/SYP.html
You can see fire action on South and West cameras.

veggie Oct 12, 2021 11:16 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Yes, you can see planes in the air here on the map at Flight Aware. Just put in SBA and move the map to the Gaviota coast area. https://flightaware.com/live/airport/KSBA

notme Oct 12, 2021 11:31 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

KEYT's web site says no tankers, just helicopters. https://keyt.com/news/fire/2021/10/12/air-tanker-support-for-alisal-fire-still-grounded-helicopters-now-flying/

John Wiley Oct 12, 2021 01:34 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Smaller choppers are a Eurocopter AS.350-B2 that may be working the smaller spot fire near the ridge closer to town; and a medium heavy 1982 Sikorsky S-61-A.

a-1634066627 Oct 12, 2021 12:23 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Apologies if it’s already mentioned in an earlier comment but is there any report re what the CAUSE of the fire might be?

Seabird Oct 12, 2021 01:17 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Some experts believe it was a potential "holdover" from the lightning storm last week. I found some good info on that in an online search - I had no idea that was possible. It seems likely.

a-1634212649 Oct 14, 2021 04:57 AM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

WAY too early to address this -- BUT --
I've learned to think your way. I have nightmares about trees struck by lightning that smolder. Thanks for bringing this up.

Sun Oct 12, 2021 12:28 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Smoke plume map
https://fire.airnow.gov/

Wunderground windstream, select windstream from the right hand side panel, scroll down
https://www.wunderground.com/wundermap?lat=34.41&lon=-119.697

EastBeach Oct 12, 2021 01:54 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Semi real-time smoke plume from GOES-West satellite. This 2-hour animation loop updates every 5 minutes so best used during the daylight hours. For night viewing, try one of the other wavelengths in the second link ........ https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/goes/sector_band.php?sat=G17&sector=psw&band=GEOCOLOR&length=24 ....... https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/goes/sector.php?sat=G17&sector=psw

Shasta Guy Oct 12, 2021 02:11 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Inciweb just updated a few minutes ago, and they have it at 8,000 acres.

The smoke plume visible from Storke and Hollister was quite impressive. Many sections of the front range here haven’t burned since 1955, so this will dog us for awhile.

John Wiley Oct 12, 2021 02:26 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Thanks for your updates, Shasta. The TFR (flight restriction) goes out well past Gaviota, so I guess the freaky changes in wind forecast have them cautious about it possibly burning well to the West over the next few days.

John Wiley Oct 12, 2021 02:28 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

If anyone's in the Lompoc area, it looks like there's a USAF KC-135 refueling something at relatively low altitude (~4k') in the Santa Rita Hills area.

John Wiley Oct 12, 2021 02:37 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

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?

John Wiley Oct 12, 2021 02:49 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

The two BAe jets are just about at the fire, along with another apparent spotter, bringing the current total to 2 jets, 3 spotters and 3 helicopters. With three spotters, maybe they'll soon be joined by a big jet and/or KC130?

Seabird Oct 12, 2021 02:52 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Something is flying over my house right now in Santa Ynez. Here she comes! Oh wait. Literally just did a hard left and turning around. Jesus Christ. Looks like it's circling up here. We're getting some pretty heavy gusts. Maybe they'll keep her pattern until she's able to approach. She's on her way again... hang on to your hats!

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