Santa Cruz Island Fire Now 100% Contained

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(Photos: Channel Islands National Park)

Update by the National Park Service
April 10, 2018

The Santa Cruz Fire, which started two weeks ago on March 27, is now considered 100 percent contained. The fire perimeter is set at 258.6 acres. 

A minimal firefighting crew is monitoring the fire following the departure of the 20-person Carson Interagency Hotshot crew last Friday. 

Next week, a team of fire specialists will visit the island to investigate the fire. They will examine the cause of the fire, the conditions at the time the fire is believed to have escaped from a small burn pile, and assess what went wrong. Their report will be available to the public when it is completed later this summer.  

“We are very grateful for impressive work of all the firefighting and incident teams who worked on the Santa Cruz Fire,” said Channel Islands National Park Service Superintendent Russell Galipeau. “We are committed to fully supporting the investigation of this unfortunate incident and are determined to learn from it in order to improve our practices.” 

Santa Cruz Island, at 96 square miles, is the largest in the chain of eight California Channel Islands. The Nature Conservancy owns 76 percent of Santa Cruz Island and the National Park Service owns 24 percent. Together, they cooperatively manage this island as one ecological unit.


Update by the National Park Service
April 9, 2018

The Santa Cruz Island fire is now estimated to be 90 percent contained as firefighters continue to make steady progress.

The crew of firefighters has been reduced to 11 personnel. Ground crews continue to monitor and tend to any potential hot spots left from the blaze that ignited on March 27, 2018.

The public closure for the entire isthmus area of Santa Cruz Island has been lifted allowing all park concession trips by Island Packers to resume landing at Prisoner’s Harbor. Private boaters will be able to land at beaches that had been closed the past few days for fire safety.

Santa Cruz Island, at 96 square miles, is the largest in the chain of eight California Channel Islands. The Nature Conservancy owns 76 percent of Santa Cruz Island and the National Park Service owns 24 percent. Together, they cooperatively manage this island as one ecological unit.


Update by the National Park Service
9:00 a.m., April 2, 2018

The Santa Cruz Island fire is now estimated to be 70 percent contained as firefighters continue to make steady progress.

The crew of firefighters has been reduced to 26 personnel. Ground crews continue to monitor and tend to any potential hot spots left from the blaze that ignited last Tuesday.

The public closure for the entire isthmus area of Santa Cruz Island has been lifted allowing all park concession trips by Island Packers to resume landing at Prisoner’s Harbor. Private boaters will be able to land at beaches that had been closed the past few days for fire safety.

Santa Cruz Island, at 96 square miles, is the largest in the chain of eight California Channel Islands. The Nature Conservancy owns 76 percent of Santa Cruz Island and the National Park Service owns 24 percent. Together, they cooperatively manage this island as one ecological unit.


Update by the National Park Service
8:00 p.m., March 31, 2018
 
The Santa Cruz Island wildfire perimeter is now estimated to be 70% contained. 
 
Update by the National Park Service
8:00 p.m., March 30, 2018

The Santa Cruz Fire perimeter has not grown the past two days. Containment is still estimated at 60 percent. Intensive efforts by firefighters continue and weather conditions have been favorable. 

The fire burned approximately 71% nonnative species and 26% native species within its perimeter. The nonnative species included fennel, grasses, and eucalyptus logs. Mapping shows that the fire laid down when it burned into the native chaparral and oak woodland communities. 

“The fire appears to have not impacted any historic or cultural resources or native wildlife such as the island fox, bald eagle, or island scrub jay,” said Channel Islands National Park Service Superintendent Russel Galipeau. “We are thankful for the swift and impressive actions of our firefighting teams.” 

Firefighting ground crews are carefully tending to potential hot spots and air attack resources have been released. Crew numbers have been reduced to 70, providing some needed relief for firefighters involved in initial attack. 

The park concessioner, Island Packers, is running trips to all destinations in the national park except for Prisoners Harbor on Santa Cruz Island. 

A closure to public access is still in place, and expected to continue through the weekend for the entire isthmus area of Santa Cruz Island. This western edge of the closure extends from the landing pier at Prisoners Harbor 220 degrees in a southwest direction to Willows Anchorage on the south side of the island. The eastern boundary is the Montañon Ridge.

Santa Cruz Island, at 96 square miles, is the largest in the chain of eight California Channel Islands. The Nature Conservancy owns 76 percent of Santa Cruz Island and the National Park Service owns 24 percent. Together, they cooperatively manage this island as one ecological unit.


By the edhat staff
11:00 a.m., March 30, 2018

The Santa Cruz Island wildfire is estimated to be 60% contained at 250 acres following an intensive effort by firefighters on the ground and consistent air attack as of Thursday evening.

The National Park Service reports the air attack is transitioning from the use of air tankers with retardant drops to helicopters water drops as needed. Ground crews are establishing a hand line fire perimeter and are systematically putting out hot spots.

The ground crew effort increased to 95, with an additional 45 firefighters, including a hotshot crew from Tonto National Forest in Arizona and teams from Sequoia and Sierra National Forests in California.

As of Thursday, there was one small non-historic outbuilding lost in the fire and no reported injuries.

“There has been an impressive interagency effort to fight this fire: U.S. National Forest Service and National Park Service sites; Vandenberg Air Force Station; Santa Barbara County Fire; Santa Barbara City Fire; and Montecito Fire,” said Channel Islands National Park Service Superintendent Russel Galipeau. “Together, they are managing the logistical challenges of fighting fires on our remote islands and are making incredible headway.”

A closure to public access is still in place for the entire isthmus area of Santa Cruz Island. This western edge of the closure extends from the landing pier at Prisoners Harbor 220 degrees in a southwest direction to Willows Anchorage on the south side of the island. The eastern boundary is the Montañon Ridge.

On Friday the east end of Santa Cruz Island including Scorpion Valley and all locations west of the Montañon Ridge will be open.

Santa Barbara residents reported seeing smoke coming from the island on Tuesday afternoon. Officials felt the fire sparked from an earlier prescribed burn.

Santa Cruz Island, at 96 square miles, is the largest in the chain of eight California Channel Islands. The Nature Conservancy owns 76 percent of Santa Cruz Island and the National Park Service owns 24 percent. Together, they cooperatively manage this island as one ecological unit.

An aerial view of the Santa Cruz Fire on 3-28-18 (Photo: NPS)

 

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 March 28, 2018: Santa Cruz Island Fire at 250 Acres

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8 Comments

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Z Apr 10, 2018 04:04 PM
Santa Cruz Island Fire Now 100% Contained

Nicely done, less than half a square mile, despite long response time and a long logistical tail. Park Service and NC will definitely be studying the recovery of the burned area, likely a good trade for the minor damage done.

Potif Apr 10, 2018 07:39 PM
Santa Cruz Island Fire Now 100% Contained

Don't guess that the acommadations were 'First Class'. And, breathing smoke is always a 'plus' for anyone. Somehow, I don't think they 'milked it' at all.

tagdes Apr 10, 2018 11:24 AM
Santa Cruz Island Fire Now 100% Contained

Oh yea, great motels to rest up and of course Jeannine's for pastries and breakfast burritos every morning, not to mention that the terrain is as steep or steeper than Montecito. I gave it up in the '70s otherwise I'd have some of what you're smoking.

tagdes Apr 10, 2018 11:29 AM
Santa Cruz Island Fire Now 100% Contained

Cute, but that would make the containment line the beach so it would have to burn the whole island to be contained so..............no.

bjgreen Apr 02, 2018 01:49 PM
Santa Cruz Island Fire Now 100% Contained

There was a similar fire on Santa Cruz Island 100 years ago in May 1918 during World War I. The source of the fire was not known, but there was concern that it might have been deliberately set . The local paper reported, “Not only is there danger from the ordinary carelessness of people … but enemies of the country may be more than ever active in seeking to destroy property by means of fire.” The blaze continued for a week and a half.

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