Crews continued to battle the Alisal Fire on Saturday, which burned 17,253 acres and was at 78% containment as of Sunday morning.
Los Padres National Forest officials reported Saturday afternoon that “very dry and windy conditions” led to increased fire activity during the day. On Saturday morning, officials reported that “minimal” new fire growth occurred over the last day, but pockets of “heavier fuels” continued to burn in the fire’s interior.
Los Padres officials said “good to moderate” smoke conditions were expected during the day Saturday, but estimated that the smoke could settle into the Santa Ynez Valley Saturday evening.
Residual smoke from overnight smoldering was expected to settle along low-lying areas near the fire’s perimeter, along Highway 101 and the Santa Ynez River today, according to a report from Los Padres. Officials estimated that “light to moderate” smoke impacts are possible in the Santa Ynez Valley and South Coast, and “light” smoke impacts were possible along the Lompoc Valley, Santa Maria Valley and Cuyama.
Officials canceled the evacuation warning for the area west of Highway 101, including Gaviota Beach and Hollister Ranch properties, on Saturday evening. As of press time Saturday, evacuation orders remained in place for Arroyo Hondo Canyon, Refugio Canyon, and the area between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo.
The evacuation point that was previously established at Dos Pueblos High School was put on standby status on Saturday afternoon. Evacuees in need of assistance are instructed to call (833) 583-3111.
Today, officials anticipate a “pattern change” as a cold front approaches the area. According to the incident management report, crews expect cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity today and expect the front to pass over the fire area tonight and into Monday morning.
The cold front is expected to bring northwest winds to the fire area on Monday, with gusts expected to reach 25-35 mph.
On Saturday, crews continued to deploy aircraft to fight the fire in conjunction with ground resources. According to an incident management report, crews prioritized containing hot spots remaining along the northern edge of the fire.
According to Kristen Allison, a public information officer for the California Interagency Incident Management Team 1, crews attacked an acre and a half spot fire that popped up in the northwest corner of the fire on Saturday afternoon. Ms. Allison said the spot fire likely started due to wind gusts of up to 20 mph on the ridgeline and hot and dry conditions.
About 439 structures remained threatened by the blaze on Saturday. According to Ms. Allison, four single-family residents and two minor structures have been destroyed by the fire so far. A Damage Assessment Team was on-site Saturday to assess the damage and validate reports, Ms. Allison added.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation on Saturday, but officials said earlier in the week that they are investigating whether the Oct. 4 lightning storm that hit Santa Barbara could have started the blaze.