Update on the Santa Barbara Jesusita fire

Photo: Lisa Slavid, 8:45 p.m. PT, May 5

From a press conference that just finished at 7:30 a.m. PT, featuring Chief Tom Franklin, of Santa Barbara County FD.

  • The winds last night were not as strong as expected, so the spread of the fire was limited.
  • The current size is 196 acres.  Earlier estimates of 420 acres were hampered by the smoke obscuring portions of the perimeter.
  • Three helicopters worked the fire last night using night vision equipment. Five helicopters will be working the fire today.
  • The spread of the fire has been slowed by the high live fuel moisture and the moderate relative humidity. But a high live/dead ratio in the area is a factor that accelerates the rate of spread.
  • Winds late this afternoon are expected to be 30 mph with gusts up to 40 to 55.
  • At least 1,200 homes have been evacuated.
  • The fire is about 1/2 mile away from homes.
  • It is between the old Tea and Gap fires.
  • Containment is at 0%.