Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Weather aids Zaca Fire


Fire fighters dousing Zaca flames expect to extend their stay by one week following recent reports estimating containment by August 3.
The fire, which began on July 4 north of the Santa Ynez Valley, has burned over 31,000 acres of wilderness and cost $31.9 million to fight. Although authorities had originally estimated an end to the blaze by Friday, firefighters are now projecting August 3 as the final date, due to flames burning in Zaca’s eastern rough patches.

As of yesterday, authorities had officially contained 60 percent of the fire. Zaca Informational Officer Eric Neitzel said firefighters’ latest efforts to reduce fires were successful, but that future progress was also dependent on climate.
“We’ve had pretty good weather,” Neitzel said. “There’s been no forward advancement in fires. If we do get some hot and dry weather, there might be some fire activity. We cut 10 miles yesterday and we have another 10 to go.”
As of yesterday, fire fighters had battled Zaca Wildland fires with over 800 personnel, 20 helicopters, 2 air tankers and 12 fire engines. While 8 personnel have sustained injuries, Neitzel said none of the incidents included any major afflictions.
“We had one twisted ankle and one broken leg, but no burns,” Neitzel said. “Actually, you don’t normally get in wildfires. We’ve been really fortunate.”
In recent attempts, Neitzel said aircraft were no longer necessary to contain the fires and that most efforts have focused on clearing vegetation and digging patches to prevent any blaze extensions.
While all evacuation notices were lifted by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. Office on Sunday, including warnings for the Peachtree Canyon Ranch area and the Los Padres National Forest, some roads remain closed. Shutdown roads include areas from Hwy. 166 to Hwy. 33 in southern Ventura County, Happy Canyon Road east at Baseline Road and the Figueroa Mountain road to the east at Highway 154.
A week earlier, Santa Barbara County residents of nearly 50 homes were allowed to return to their houses following a temporary evacuation notice. The notice was lifted after firefighters were successfully able to prevent the fire from spreading with the use of backfires.

No comments: