Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

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Update by edhat staff
11:00 a.m., October 22, 2021

The Alisal Fire is now updated to 16,962 acres at 97% containment with 298 total personnel.

Yesterday

Firefighters completely secured north, east, south and most of the western edges of the fire. Crews continued monitoring isolated pockets for potential holdover heat and continued suppression repair in areas identified by Resource Advisors.

Today

Fire suppression efforts have transitioned to suppression repair, which are those actions taken to mitigate damages caused by fire suppression to minimize potential soil erosion. Repair includes removing hazard trees and repairing the hand and dozer fire lines, roads, trails, staging areas and drop points. Additionally, crews will backhaul equipment off the line at areas of lowest risk for fire activity to concentrate on suppression repair. A community meeting will be conducted tomorrow specifically for impacted communities.

Weather

Cooler weather and moister conditions are forecasted through the weekend. Gusty northerly winds up to 45 mph are likely by Saturday evening. A strong cold front sweeps through Sunday and Monday, with light rain arriving Sunday and heavier rain falling Sunday evening and Monday. Expect rainfall totals of one to two inches and the potential for minor mud and debris flows. 

Post-Fire Assessment

The U.S. Forest Service’s Burned Area Emergency Responses (BAER) Team and CAL FIRE's Watershed Emergency Response Team (WERT) continue examining burn areas. The teams will identify areas at risk and recommend mitigation measures to prepare for any future flooding, post-fire debris flows and landslides.

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 16,962 acres

Containment: 97%

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


Update by edhat staff
6:00 a.m., October 21, 2021

The Alisal Fire is 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 Wednesday, crews continued to focus on Droppoint 40 on the fire’s northwest corner where ridge tops continued to hold heat in the oak woodland understory. To the south crews completely secured the fire along Highway 101 and the old Gaviota burn to the west. Firefighters also completely secured the line on the eastern edge along the old Sherpa fire burn area.

For today [Thursday], crews expect minimal fire activity but are monitoring isolated pockets where holdover heat might linger. Crews are ready if called upon to conduct suppression efforts to maintain the fire's current footprint. Suppression efforts have transitioned to repair, meaning actions taken to mitigate the damage done by suppression efforts and minimize potential soil erosion. This includes removing hazardous trees, repairing fire lines, trails, roads, staging areas, and drop points.

Cooler weather and moisture conditions are forecasted throughout the weekend. Expect rain to develop by Sunday and 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.

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 11, 2021 03:45 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

One of the tankers just left Santa Maria headed North, so maybe there's a worse fire somewhere or they've decided it's not needed here now?

John Wiley Oct 11, 2021 03:38 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Air tankers all went back to Santa Maria but the spotter plane is still circling. The current NWS micro forecast for that area is 35kt gusting 48kt or more until 10pm.

sharky76 Oct 11, 2021 04:18 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

I'm in Santa Ynez and have a decent view. I can't see the source (on the North side of the ridge), but I think it is on the South side very near the top. I may be wrong.

John Wiley Oct 11, 2021 03:41 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Last I looked there wasn't a satellite fire detection yet, but the smoke plume looks like most of the active fire might still be on the North slope near the ridge.

John Wiley Oct 11, 2021 03:11 PM
Alisal Fire 97% Contained at 17,281 Acres

Seven aircraft going after it right now, many of them fixed wing tankers. Smoke plume's still fairly large. Refugio Hills wind gauge showing 21kt gusting to 38kt. Must be really hard to put anything on the fire from the air in such strong wind.

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