Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Whittier forest fire in California grows by 4 Times in 24 Hours

Whittier forest fire in California grows by 4 Times in 24 Hours

The fire in Los Padres National Forest remains 36% contained as it continues to creep downhill along its eastern, western and southern edges, according to fire officials.

A week after it started, the Alamo Fire burning east of Santa Maria is almost contained.

Highway 154 from Armour Ranch (west side) to Paradise Road (east side). On Friday, fire officials were particularly concerned about sundowner winds fanning flames on the stubborn Whittier Fire in Santa Barbara County over the weekend.

No changes have been made to evacution orders for other areas.

The agency said there was minimal fire activity Saturday and that only isolated areas with burnt or decayed trees continued to smolder.

The fire burned mainly in areas above the marine layer, McMillan said.

Currently, there are about 1,924 total personnel attacking the Whittier blaze, with 39 fire crews, 145 fire engines, 30 water tenders, four masticators, six fixed-wing aircraft, 14 helicopters and 18 bulldozers. But fire crews are prepared if that should happen, officials said. Strong offshore winds could push the fire toward populated areas.

The American Red Cross has opened evacuation shelters at San Marcos High School, located at 4750 Hollister Ave.in Goleta, and Santa Ynez Elementary School, 3325 Pine St.in Santa Ynez.

On the south side, pet owners with small animals that can be evacuated may be brought to the Santa Barbara Humane Society at 5399 Overpass Road, Santa Barbara.

For animal evacuation questions and offers of assistance, call the Animal Services hotline at (805) 681-4332.

For the latest information about the biggest wildfires burning in California, visit http://www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents and https://inciweb.nwcg.gov.

Cal Fire said the blaze is 35 percent contained, down from more than 50 percent contained earlier in the week.

Full containment is expected by July 22.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

"Fire crews will remain throughout the fire perimeter in the coming weeks to provide fire suppression fix, remove firefighting equipment, mop up and patrol", Cal Fire SLO wrote in a Sunday statement.

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times.

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