August 22 Update
Incident: La Brea Fire Wildfire
La Brea Fire Information
August 22 Morning Update
Los Padres National Forest
California Interagency Incident Management Team 3 / Jeanne Pincha-Tulley - Incident Commander
Acres: 89,489 Personnel: 1,335 Containment: 96%
Start Date: Aug. 8, 2009
For more information call (805) 961-5770
On the fireline the heat continues to diminish as crews push again today toward the goal of full containment of the La Brea Fire. The fire has become less active with each passing day. And, though it is possible that smoke may rise from within the wilderness area for some time, infrared cameras are finding very little heat near the edge of the burn. As the major suppression operation is downsizing, surplus equipment and personnel are being released from the incident to their home units, some as far away as Pennsylvania. Remaining personnel are watching the weather intently.
An unstable air mass has moved into the area. This type of weather pattern has the potential to introduce thunderstorms with gusty winds, rain, lightning, or any combination of the three into the fire environment. The storms that passed far south of the fire area last night produced some lightning and one small fire was started but quickly extinguished by local agencies. A change in wind direction yesterday ignited an interior patch of unburned fuel that created a large column of smoke on the west end of the fire. This is anticipated to occur again today as vegetation heats up. Yesterday, very light drizzle fell occasionally on parts of the fire but it was not enough to wet any of the areas still smoldering.
Firefighters only have two miles of open fireline left in the extremely steep terrain. That terrain has been the factor for the cautious pace of the last few days. Firefighter safety is the highest priority and no unnecessary risks are taken. With that, it is possible that firefighters could be pulled off the line temporarily today if a large storm cell were to move in over the fire area. This would reduce the risk to personnel caused by the threat of lightning or flash flooding that these type of storms can bring.
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 threat of scattered thunderstorms and local gusty winds continues. Winds will flow predominantly from the west at 8-14 mph with gusts up 20 mph. Temperatures will range from the mid 80s to the mid 90s. Relative humidities will range from 20-35% depending on the location.
Safety: The weekend has arrived and with increased traffic, drivers are urged to use extreme caution when travelling on Highway 166 and to be on alert for emergency vehicles and personnel.
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, please contact Fire Information at (805) 961-5770.
Resources: Engines: 39 Crews: 37 Dozers: 7 Water Tenders: 56 Helicopters: 8 Fixed Wing: Available