Whittier Fire Flareups Mean Long Night For Some Nearby Residents; Fire Expands To 17,000 Acres

Jul 15, 2017

There were once again some flareups with the Whittier brush fire in Santa Barbara County Friday night, but concerns that sundowner winds might blow the blaze into homes on the west side of Goleta didn’t materialize.

The fire went from a little over 13,000 acres to more than 17,000.  The growth dropped the blaze's containment from 52% to 35%.  But, firefighters kept the flames well away from homes.

It was a long night for many residents concerned about the highly visible fire  in the distance. Hundreds of people who live on the edge of evacuation zones in the Goleta area stood vigil on hilltops, watching the fire.

Many of them were longtime residents who say they have some key possessions like photo albums all packed up, just in case, even though they aren’t in evacuation zones.

Highway 154 remains closed Saturday from Santa Barbara to Highway 246, in the Santa Ynez Valley as a result of the fire.

Firefighters are going to have to contend with hotter temperatures Saturday. The sundowner winds could return again Saturday night, but the latest forecast models indicate they will be much weaker that originally predicted.

Meanwhile, the Alamo Fire northwest of Santa Maria is 93% contained, with firefighters continuing to hold the amount of land burned to around 29,000 acres.