Looking north from Santa Ynez Peak at 5:53 a.m. PDT July 10, 2017. Photo by WildfireToday.com

Whittier Fire Grows to more than 10,000 acres, weather in firefighters favor

SYV Star Staff Report

The Whittier Fire has grown to 10,823 acres as of 8 a.m. Monday morning, however cloud cover, higher humidity and lower temperatures has firefighters hopeful for more containment soon. Current containment holds at five percent.

“The crews are attaching directly on the edges where terrain allows, as it is very difficult to navigate in some areas. We have five helicopters dropping water and fire retardant and air tankers available if necessary,” said Cpt. Dave Zaniboni.

Highway 154 will remain closed from Highway 246 on the Santa Ynez size to Foothill Road on the Santa Barbara side. Evacuation warnings and orders are still in effect and there are structure defenses in place on the south side of the fire near western Goleta, Zaniboni added.

3-D map of the Whittier Fire showing the perimeter acquired from an aircraft at 10:30 p.m. PDT July 9, 2017.
Photo by WildfireToday.com

The brush fire that broke out near Camp Whittier and Lake Cachuma Saturday afternoon around 2 p.m. was originally thought to have been ignited by a vehicle fire, but those reports are unconfirmed, according to fire officials.

All campers and staff at Camp Whittier, Circle V Ranch Camp and Rancho Alegre were safely evacuated, even after more than 80 children and staff from Circle V were trapped for a several hours. A Chumash Casino bus came and took the children to safety at Old Mission Santa Ines after rescuers and fire crews could get to them.  More than 20 structures have burned as reports of only the dining hall and one cabin at Rancho Alegre still stood. Two additional vehicles were destroyed including a police vehicle, according to eye witnesses. To see footage of the fire log onto our social media site such as Facebook to see live streaming video.

Authorities said those in the warning areas should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice with family members, pets, important documents and irreplaceable items.

Anyone with special needs and large animals should be evacuated immediately, they added.

Evacuation shelters have been opened at San Marcos High School, 4750 Hollister Ave. in Santa Barbara, and at Santa Ynez School, 3325 Pine St. in Santa Ynez.