August 21 Morning Update
Incident: La Brea Fire Wildfire
La Brea Fire Information
August 21 Morning Update
Los Padres National Forest
California Interagency Incident Management Team 3 / Jeanne Pincha-Tulley - Incident Commander
Acres: 89,489 Personnel: 1,370 Containment: 94%
Start Date: Aug. 8, 2009
For more Information: www.inciweb.org or call (805) 961-5770
After 14 days of tough firefighting, an estimate of full containment of the La Brea Fire is in sight for tomorrow, August 22.
Late hanging fog yesterday caused delays in transporting hotshot crews via helicopter to the last critical section of the fire deep in the San Rafael Wilderness. Two more hotshot crews are being added today. They, and others, will continue to knock down any remaining flames and hot spots in the unbelievably steep country. Slow but steady progress is being achieved as indicated by infrared images taken last night. Very little heat remains near the majority of the fire's edge.
For the past few days, as many as eight 20-person crews have worked to stop over 10 miles of fire through hard and direct firefighting. Using hand-held firefighting tools, chainsaws, and supported by an aerial firefighting arsenal of heavy lift helicopters and heavy air tankers, they are connecting the last piece of fireline to achieve 100 percent containment.
The focus today is to get the last section completed, but they are challenged by near cliff conditions in the rugged San Rafael Wilderness, located about 23 miles east of Santa Maria. This section is currently not burning with great vigor, but it still must be suppressed to prevent a possible escape. Firefighters will be alert to the forecasted lightning potential that could bring gusty and erratic winds. Elsewhere, on the 94 percent of the fire currently contained, mop up and fireline rehabilitation efforts continue by over 1,300 firefighters still committed to the effort.
Although decreasing each day, some interior smoke and flare-ups continue, mostly well inside portions of the burned area. They do not pose any serious threat of crossing the containment lines. Firefighters monitor these interior flare-ups and usually do not take any suppression action on them since it is not needed. There are currently no evacuation notices in effect anywhere around the fire.
Suppression line rehabilitation using fire crews, dozers and track hoe excavators is progressing with water bar construction, road culvert cleaning, and scattering vegetation on back-up firelines that were built as a contingency, or on fireline sections where the fire is clearly out. Water bars are small berms built across the slopes to slow water and reduce erosion when the rains return.
Weather: The weather will change slightly this afternoon bringing the threat of scattered thunderstorms, and local gusty winds. Also, the winds will shift to a more southerly flow, helping firefighters by pushing the fire back to previously burned areas in the southeast flank.
Safety: Due to slower moving emergency vehicle traffic on Highway 166, the public is urged to use extra caution.
Fire Investigation Tip Line: If you have any information regarding the La Brea Fire, please contact Forest Service Fire Investigators at 805-686-5074.
Closures: An emergency closure order is in effect for portions of the Los Padres National Forest in and around the fire. For more information, see http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/lospadres/ or http://www.inciweb.org/incident/1803/.
Resources: Engines: 44 Crews: 39 Dozers: 7 Water Tenders: 59 Helicopters: 10 Fixed Wing: Available