White Fire

8:30 pm – @KSBY: The #WhiteFire has now burned 1,000 acres. An estimated 4,000-6,000 people evacuated in Paradise Canyon.

8:00 pm – Wind Warning overnight …

“The conditions near the “White fire” off the 154 in Santa Barbara county look challenging overnight, the area is under a wind warning:

Low temp 47-51 deg, Max RH 70-75% then falling to 50-55% after midnight, North wind gusts up to 55 mph.” Dave Hovde, Meterologist


Here is a photo posted by Cal Fire PIO, unknown photographer.

7:00 pm – already up to 700 acres. Fixed wing from Santa Maria ordered grounded due to erratic winds – the most dangerous conditions, along with low humidity.

IC just ordered “four additional heavy helicopters” for tomorrow.

Also, SB Fire Department reporting one USFS outbuilding and two vehicles – one USFS, one private – destroyed.
Also 6 AT’s to be over the fire at 0800

6:30 pm – There is a 500 acre fire down on Paradise Rd in Rural Santa Barbara and the Los Padres National Forest that I have been following this afternoon, and it looks like it is taking off. Reports are three structures burned, two vehicles, one private, one USFS. 50 structures threatened. White Rock Campground has been evacuated.


5 pm – here is SLO lightning tracker. One can see that the lightning is coming across the SLO/Monterey Co line and here on the South Coast. I haven’t heard any, yet, but it definitely looks like rain. It is hard to see the county line here, but it is below the “50” and right smack through the middle of the northern group of cells.

Here is what RL (real life) looked like at 5 pm. It currently looks as if there might be rain over the ocean:

4 pm cloud build up (this is, of course, looking north, but the ESE is getting dark)

Clouds, 9/10/11


10:30 am – nothing visible here, and the clouds I woke to are gone. It is clear with a blanket of fog on the coast. However, all around us they are getting pounded with lightning strikes in Kern County and southern San Luis Obispo County as well as the LPNF in Santa Barbara. There are multiple down strikes in each of those three counties and complex fires (multiple strikes grouped together into one fire-fighting effort) are present in each county.

From my SLO weather source: “An upper-level low pressure system is anchored over southern California coast and will be slow to move out of the area resulting in scattered thunderstorms with rain and lightning today through Sunday.

The system has tapped into subtropical moisture and will continue to do so for the next couple days and, as a result, thunderstorms that develop will most likely be accompanied by possible heavy rain.

Since there is no well-defined front associated with this type of system, exact timing of thunderstorms and rain amounts is very difficult to predict. In other words, periods of sunshine or partly cloudy skies may last for extended periods, before bands of thunderstorms rolled through your area.

Note: Thunderstorms may be accompanied by lightning, gusty winds,heavy rain and hail.”

From a fire fighting source, “South Op’s has taken over 20,000 downstrikes in the last 24 hours. Most of the lightning on a line from the AZ border northwest to the SLO area appear to have light to moderate precip; Opal Mt. and White Mt. RAWS stations showed .24 and .27 inches of precip, but the majority of the RAWS stations showed less than .10 or no precip at all. but the storms farther north along the southern to central sierra foothills were light to no precip. Should be an interesting day.


Our fire weather watch continues through tomorrow. I will update later from NWS.

Fire Season NOT over! Fire in Montecito

8 PM tonight, breaking news in Santa Barbara reported a wildfire in Montecito. I will look for more details and post them here.

Multiple structures on fire. Called, “The Tea Incident” at this time. Strike teams being mobilized from all over. Reports on number of structures and number of acres are all over the map, and thus unreliable, at this time, however recent (9:30 pm) reports indicate 300 acres, and 7 homes burned The “sundowner” winds are creating significant problems. Gusts of up to 70 mph are reported, per NWS, which seems to be reliable. ALL off duty SBSO have been ordered to report for duty, per KCOY TV.

Fire seems to be above Highway 192 area, in between the Cold Springs Rd. and Hot Springs Rd. possibly heading toward 101, but reports are really sketchy. Fire said to have started around 6 pm.

4 AM -Throughout the night, strike teams from all over the state have been ordered to report to the TEA fire. Reports are that 80 homes have been destroyed, so far, as well as several buildings at Westmont College. As of 4 AM, 2000 acres are reported, and 500-1000 firefighters on scene to keep the fire from spreading west into Santa Barbara. Air support has been ordered for dawn.

USFS Central Coast IMT 7 (Jim Smith, Type 2) and CALFIRE IMT 10 (Pat Kerschen, Type 1) have both been ordered up to the Tea Fire. And if conditions allow, the DC-10 will be flying by 10 AM. Bringing in the big boys!

7 AM – Reports are 2500 acres and 100 homes burned. Oh, my.

Ever feel jinxed? I am supposed to drive through that area tomorrow (today) to see my Mom.