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Firefighters Prepare For New Flareups Of Whittier Brush Fire, With Sundowners In Forecast

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)
A converted DC-10 make a fire retardant drop near Santa Ynez Peak on the Whittier brush fire

Firefighters battling the Whittier brush fire, in the Santa Ynez Mountains are keeping a close eye on the weather today, with the potential for sundowner winds in the forecast for Friday night.

Thursday night, a flareup of the blaze below Santa Ynez, and Broadcast Peaks on the south side of the blaze created concern for some Goleta and Santa Barbara residents, who could see the line of flames. There was a flood of 911 calls during the flareup, which last for about four hours. Fire officials say despite the ominous look of the fire, it was miles away from the closest homes. No new evacuation orders were issued, and the flareup subsided just after one Friday morning.

As a precaution against flareups Friday night, more fire resources are being moved to the foothills above areas like Winchester Canyon.

The fire is currently 52% contained, with the amount of acreage burned slightly up to 13,200 acres. Highway 154 remains closed between Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley, so Highway 101 is expected to be even busier than normal for a summer weekend with tourists having to use it to get to Solvang, and the wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Meanwhile, firefighters have hit 90% containment with the week-old Alamo Fire, burning northeast of Santa Maria. The amount of acreage burned still continues to hold steady, at around 29,000 acres.

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