Holiday Fire Caused by Electrical Conductors

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Holiday Fire Caused by Electrical Conductors
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Holiday Fire (Photo: SBCFD)

Source: Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Holiday Fire Investigation Summary

On Friday, July 6, 2018, at approximately 8:40 PM, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department (SBCFD) responded to a wildland fire at the north end of North Fairview Avenue, in an unincorporated area located north of the City of Goleta, California. The subject fire, identified as the “Holiday Incident” (Holiday Fire), burned approximately 113 acres, damaged 3 single-family dwellings, and destroyed 24 structures, including 10 single-family dwellings.

Incident Background:

The Holiday Fire was reported at 8:38:04 PM, at the north end of North Fairview Avenue. Weather conditions at the time the fire was reported were: temperature approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit, a relative humidity around 12%, with a north wind of approximately 10-20 miles per hour with gusts exceeding 30 miles per hour. Multiple witnesses described the holiday fire to investigators as approaching their location from the north end of North Fairview Avenue.

SBCFD and CAL FIRE investigators examined fire pattern indicators and identified a specific origin area located directly below electrical conductors. The Specific Origin Area was surrounded by tall trees and vegetation with several specimens that exceeded the height of distribution electrical conductors.

Investigation Findings Summary:

  • Based on the facts, circumstances, and data revealed during the fire investigation, SBCFD determined the ignition source for the Holiday Fire was electrical conductors.

  • The most probable ignition scenario identified during the investigation was high north winds causing either a tree branch, palm frond, or other vegetative debris to land across both the west and center distribution electrical conductors.

  • The tree branch, palm frond, or other vegetative debris ignited and/or produced fire brands that were deposited into and ignited a receptive fuel bed located within the Specific Origin Area.

  • The resulting fire spread south adjacent to North Fairview Avenue in alignment with the prevailing north wind.

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chico berkeley Mar 21, 2020 08:40 PM
Holiday Fire Caused by Electrical Conductors

Whatever. Gee whiz,it is SCE's fault. You people can not see the forest, for the trees. Above ground lines kill more people but,the people who care about the environment more than people have a burden in this because they are the ones making old fuel and overgrowth some sort of environmental issue.

goletatim Mar 22, 2020 07:01 AM
Holiday Fire Caused by Electrical Conductors

Is it really SCE fault that trees caused debris to land across both the west and center distribution electrical conductors? Is it SCE fault that the wind caused the trees drop the debris on the lines? Why do we need fault?

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