Figueroa Fire

Date: September 4, 2011 Los Padres National Forest
6755 Hollister Ave. #150
CONTACT: Andrew Madsen (805) 961-5759
Joe Pasinato (805) 961-5745

Los Padres Fire Crews Work to Extinguish Figueroa Fire

GOLETA, CA…Los Padres firefighters responded to reports of a wildfire on the Santa Lucia Ranger District shortly after 1:00 pm on September 3. When the first crews arrived on scene, initial estimates put the fire at 100 acres burning just north of the Sisquoc River between Horse Canyon and Tunnel Canyon near the historic Tunnel Ranch property.

The fire, called the Figueroa Fire, is burning in mostly steep, narrow canyons at elevations ranging from 1,000 feet to 2,500 feet. The vegetation in this area is abundant due to significant winter rainfall, and consist primarily of grass and light sage with heavier growth at the lower elevations closer to the river. There is limited access for fire engines and other equipment due to the narrow, single-land dirt roads in that area.

The Santa Maria Air Tanker Base was immediately activated, and a total of four retardant-dropping air tankers made multiple turnarounds out of Santa Maria. Together with four water-dropping helicopters, the fire’s rate of spread was limited to just under 700 acres by day’s end.

Los Padres firefighters were assisted by Santa Barbara County Fire, Vandenberg Air Force Base, the Chumash Fire Department, and CalFire.

Crews are working today to complete control lines, improve existing fire lines, protect values at risk, and preplan contingency operations. Temperatures in the area of the fire are expected to reach highs in the mid-90s with RH levels between 10 and 15 percent. Winds of 3 to 6 miles per hour are anticipated.

California Inter-Agency Management Team 7 is managing suppression efforts under the leadership of Incident Commander Jim Smith. A total of 325 personnel are assigned to the fire, which is currently estimated at 30 percent containment. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

For more information, including daily updates, please visit

Also, I’m watching a fire in the Tehachipi area called the canyon fire, caused by a small plane crash. It looks to have the potential to go extended, as it has destroyed one structure, and burned through the retardant lines.