Zaca Fire Update: Backfires Planned Will Cause Significant Smoke

Note: Fire officials have stated that backfire operations will cause significant amounts of smoke which will possibly reach the Pine Mountain and Frazier Park areas.

Thursday, August 16, 2007 8:00 AM
Joint Unified Command:  Los Padres National Forest and Santa Barbara County Fire Department
On the Web: or or
Fire Information Phone Line:  (805) 961-5770

Fire Status
Acres Burned:  127,244 acres
Acreage Increase (last 12 hours):10,530 acres
Fireline to Build: 16 miles
Date Started:  July 4, 2007 at 10:53 am
Percent Contained:  63 percent
Expected Containment:  September 7, 2007
Injuries:  29
Structures Threatened:  595
Structures Destroyed:  1 outbuilding     

Crews:  69
Engines: 123
Helicopters:  18
Air Tankers:  8   
Air Attack: 3
Dozers: 38
Water Tenders:  73
Total Personnel Assigned:  2,853
Cost to Date:  $73.4 million

Current Situation:
The fire has established itself at the bottom of Mono drainage and made slope runs to the Hildreth Jeepway. Efforts are aimed at holding the fire on this ridge. If these efforts prove unsuccessful it will prompt fire officials to consider executing predetermined plans to utilize backfire operations in conjunction with direct and indirect line construction.  Efforts will be focused on completing direct fireline from the Ogilvy Ranch area to the Hildreth Jeepway and to consider conducting backfiring operations from the Jeepway east toward Highway 33.  Current strategies of direct attack will continue while fire managers review contingency plans and adjust suppression tactics as needed. 

On the northern perimeter, firefighters will continue today conducting a backfire operation to burnout out vegetation between the fireline and the main fire which is actively burning in Sisquoc, Cliff and Logan Canyons. Firefighters were successful in securing four miles of fireline from Santa Barbara Canyon to Sweetwater Ridge. On the east perimeter, the fire continues to actively burn in area known as the Narrows in Mono Canyon and is moving east towards the Matilija Wilderness. Firefighters will also begin a backfire operation in the area around Potrero Seco. The active fire is still burning within the indirect fire lines that the incident commanders have established to contain this fire.

Hwy 33 between Ojai and Cumaya and the Lockwood Road may close today while firefighters conduct a firing operation to secure the fireline on the eastern perimeter of the fire. The decision to close the road is dependent on fire activity.  Incident Commanders are working with the California Highway Patrol in conjunction with Santa Barbara and Ventura County Sheriff Offices on a traffic closure plan.   

Contingency lines in the areas of Paradise Road, Camuesa Road, the Sierra Madre Ridge, Pendola Road, and the Matilija Wilderness are completed.  These lines may reduce the need for firing operations in those areas and will provide firefighters with other suppression options that may be needed in the event that changing conditions warrant such action.

Forest, Road and Area Closures:
•    Happy Canyon Road is closed at Los Padres National Forest boundary.
•    Figueroa Mountain Road is closed at the Los Padres National Forest boundary.
•    East Camino Cielo is closed between Painted Cave Road and Gibraltar Road due to fire equipment traffic.
•    Paradise Road is within the Evacuation Warning Area and is currently open to residents only.
•    The Zaca Fire Area Closure in Los Padres National Forest has been expanded to include additional lands in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern Counties.  The expanded closure now encompasses approximately 888,000 acres including the entire San Rafael, Matilija and Chumash Wildernesses, a portion of the Sespe Wilderness and adjacent national forest lands.  Detailed information on the closure can be found at or or your local Forest Service Office.

•    The EVACUATION ORDER for Paradise Road residents, Los Prietos Boys Camp, and the Rancho Oso Guest Ranch has been downgraded to an EVACUATION WARNING. 
•    The Santa Ynez River Road campgrounds, day use areas and trailheads remain closed.

This is part of the August 10, 2007 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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