Whittier Fire In Calif. Causes Evacuations, 13,199 Acres Burned, 52% Contained

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New areas were ordered evacuated in Goleta as shifting weather conditions pushed the Whittier fire westward, pushing up a huge plume of smoke that prompted drivers to stop on Highway 101 to take photographs, leading to backed-up traffic, officials said.

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Meanwhile, firefighters were making progress on the Alamo fire near Santa Maria and were nearing 100-percent containment Friday.

 

The Whittier fire has charred 13,199 acres, and with only 52 percent of the blaze contained, the unified command stepped up the attack Friday, bringing in additional resources and adding more aerial assaults on the fire lines.

“Santa Barbara County has a fire history that is notorious for life and structure loss,” County Fire Chief Eric Peterson said Friday afternoon, adding firefighters had carved out hundreds of miles of firelines and dropped thousands of gallons of retardant.

 

“The one thing we don’t do is control the weather,” he said. “If the wind picks up enough, the fire will spot ahead and spread.”

 

But he said the unified command had increased resources significantly for the Sundowner winds expected to hit Friday evening.

 

A total of 1,240 firefighters are assigned to the fire — 23 hand crews, six hotshot teams and five strike teams with 92 fire engines, 16 bulldozers, 23 water tenders and 12 helicopters, including one night flier.

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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