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La Brea Fire Update Late Evening August 11, 2009

The La Brea Fire was once again very active, but good success was achieved in checking the fire in some areas. The east flank was most active, and firefighters worked hard on a portion of the fire which burned over the Sierra Madre ridge and pushed down into the Moon and Eckart Canyon area. Additional resources were requested to work through the afternoon and into tonight. On the north flank, a strong combination of air and ground firefighting resources have checked the blaze near the Miranda Pine Campground extending toward Treplett Mountain. Over 100 firefighters will work hard to hold that area tonight. On the southeast flank, crews completed building portions of fireline and will continue work tonight in the Horse Canyon area. The fire did not make any significant movement on the west flank. The fire, still mostly in the San Rafael Wilderness, is challenging due to the steep and inaccessible terrain. Dense, extremely dry chapparal, long distance spotting and moderate to rapid rates of spread continue to challenge firefighting efforts. Extreme fire behavior has been observed since the fire began. The northeast portion of the fire area has not burned since 1922. The fire has not entered the Sisquoc River area.

The La Brea Fire is now under unified command with the U.S. Forest Service and CAL FIRE. There is significant fire suppression vehicle traffic and congestion on Highway 166. The public is urged to seek an alternate route and to use extra caution when traveling the highway.

Current Situation:The fire is now estimated at 21,029 acres. Firefighters will work on the fireline throughout the night, focusing on Sierra Madre Ridge and the slop over in the upper reaches of Moon Canyon, above Cuyama Valley. Some crews are camping at safe locations near the fireline minimizing travel time. Additional crews and support equipment continue to arrive. Existing dozer lines from the Zaca Fire in 2007 are being prepared for use as firelines. On the southwest side of the fire, previously burned areas of the Bald Fire are slowing the fire spread.

Weather: The outlook for Wednesday is mostly sunny and clear. Temperatures at the lower elevations are anticipated to be 92-98 degrees, with upper elevations temperatures expected at 84-92 degrees.

Evacuations:Effective at 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, August 11, 2009, an Evacuation Order was issued by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office for the following areas due to fire activity of the La Brea Fire: Western Boundary: Sierra Madre Road; Southern Boundary: Cottonwood Road; Eastern Boundary: Highway 166; Northern Boundary: Spoor Canyon. This area includes Moon and Eckert Canyons. An Evacuation Warning exists for areas bound by Cottonwood Road and Wasioja Road, and between Highway 166 and Sierra Madre Road.

Closures: An emergency closure order is in effect for portions of the Los Padres National Forest in and around the fire. For more information, please contact Fire Information at (805) 961-5770 from 6am-10pm or http://www.inciweb.org/incident/1803/

Flight Restrictions: Temporary flight restrictions have been put in place over the fire area.

Resources assigned to the fire: Engines: 23 Crews: 34 Dozers: 12 Helicopters: 9 Total personnel: 1,062