Whittier Fire slows, but keeps spreading west and south

Whittier Fire

Above: The Whittier Fire as seen from Santa Ynez Peak at 7:13 a.m. PDT July 16, 2017.

(Originally published at 7:55 a.m. PDT July 16, 2017)

The Whittier Fire was less active Saturday than in previous days but it added another 651 acres to bring the total burned area up to 18,015 acres, according to the data from a mapping flight at 12:30 a.m on Sunday. Most of that increase was on the northwest side but the south flank also advanced slowly down the slope.

map Whittier Fire
3-D map of the Whittier Fire looking east. The red line was the perimeter at 12:30 a.m. PDT July 16, 2017. The white line was the perimeter 25 hours earlier. The red shaded area represents intense heat.

The weather forecast for Saturday night predicted Sundowner winds but a weather station at San Marcos Pass recorded mostly mild conditions overnight — winds of 1 to 4 mph gusting at 6 to 11 with the relative humidity hovering around 60 percent. The weather forecasters are having a hard time accurately predicting the Sundowner winds.

map Whittier Fire
Map of the Whittier Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 12:30 a.m. PDT July 16, 2017. The white line was the perimeter 25 hours earlier.

Firefighters working on the eastern side are striving to keep the fire from reaching Bear Creek. The southwest corner of the fire burned into the last year’s Sherpa Fire Saturday and stalled out due to a lack of fuel.

Evacuations are still in effect. (see map)

Resources assigned to the fire include 38 hand crews, 145 fire engines, 30 water tenders, 4 masticators, 6 fixed wing aircraft, 13 helicopters, and 18 dozers for a total of 1,924 personnel.

Engine Crew from Rogue River Whittier Fire
An Engine Crew from Rogue River mops up the Whittier Fire July 14, 2017. Inciweb photo.

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All of the articles we have written about the fire are tagged “Whittier Fire” and can be found here, with the most recent at the top.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills.

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10 thoughts on “Whittier Fire slows, but keeps spreading west and south”

  1. Way the best coverage I’ve seen. In particular, the use of a 3-d map makes the location and extent of the fire much clearer.

    1. I like that. For the 40+ years I’ve been familiar with the Los Padres, the Molera Fire (1972?) being my first intimate encounter, it always struck me as a fire waiting to happen late Spring into early Autumn. A really beautiful and stimulating place even with the ubiquitous poison oak and yellow jackets. Of course back then the fires were small compared to today’s. Climate change and drought or different tactics. Or both I wonder. LR

  2. Great map and info…thanks.
    I’m a professional freelance photojournalist based in Thousand Oaks.
    cover many wildland fires.
    this type of information is so informative.

  3. As a person currently evacuated this is great information, thank you so much. Please keep up dating and please list any other information sites that may be out there.

  4. TV newscasters rarely show maps of our fires, which is so frustrating when you’d really like to know exactly where they’re located! Thanks for providing this useful information.

  5. It’s great to see that the dreadful sundowner winds didn’t materialize after all. What a great relief. Thank God!

    It’s best to take all the precautions, just in case, however. The forecasters & those fighting this fire are truly terrific!

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