Flare up expected in Whittier Fire due to rising temps and increased winds

Photo by Sarah Larkin

***Evacuation orders have been released for Kinevan Road from fire officials as of 9:30 p.m. Thursday, July 13. ***

***The flames are currently not a threat to communities, as SBC Fire has had an overwhelming amount of calls this evening. Firefighters are actively monitoring this area with Night Flight Aircraft. Crews are continuing to work on fire control lines on all areas of the fire tonight, including reinforcing dozer and hand lines along the front country area.***

People watching the Whittier Fire
Photo by Mike Eliason of SBC Fire

The orange glow and increased smoke plumes could be seen Thursday evening as the Whittier Fire continues to burn brush that hasn’t burned since the Refugio Fire in 1955. Firefighters are expecting increased activity as the temperatures begin to rise and winds start to pick up into the weekend, according to Los Padres National Forest (LPNF) officials.

“Today’s weather is expected to transition to warmer, dryer conditions. The marine layer will clear warming the area and lowering the relative humidity. A major concern are the forecasted Sundowner winds that could begin Friday evening,” fire officials wrote on their incident reports.

The southern edge of the fire above Goleta saw an increase in air tanker activity today as they continued to apply fire retardant in anticipation of Friday’s forecasted Sundowners.

Two firefighters were injured yesterday, one was from a fall and the other suffered a heat related injury but both are back working on the line, according to LPNF.

There was an increase in personnel to 1,101 fire crews assigned to the fire that is still at 48 percent containment and now at 12,263 acres, officials reported.

Tomorrow at 2 p.m. will be a briefing on the rescue of more than 80 children at Circle V Ranch Camp, where kids and staff were briefly trapped by flames as rescue personnel weren’t able to get to them. Stories of the incident will be live streamed on the Star Facebook page.

“On behalf of Circle V Ranch Camp Director Ray Lopez, we are so very grateful to first responders, staff and volunteers who helped safely evacuated ALL our Session 2 campers and staff yesterday,” said Laura Kath, spokesperson for Circle V.

Evacuations centers have been established at San Marcos High School near Goleta and at Santa Ynez School. Highway 154 is still closed at this time as Caltrans and PG&E crews are working to repair the road and electrical power infrastructure.