Saturday’s promise of hotter temperatures and the potential for sundowner winds did not fully materialize. Yet on the eastern perimeter, every effort was being made to establish containment line and to continue burning out operations back to the west, eliminating any possibility of the fire racing downhill in the evening and reaching Highway 101.

The major concern is that increased heat and reduced humidity into Sunday will cause the northern part of the fire line to explode uphill towards Santa Ynez Peak and possibly spew cinders east into Las Llagas and Gato canyons. Fortunately, this did not happen Saturday; the temperatures weren’t that bad, the wind was non-existent, and the sundowners didn’t hit until after 7 p.m., providing loads of time to prepare for them.

Dozer and engine crews worked feverishly in these two canyons along with Las Varas Canyon further east in preparation for burning out the brush should sundowner winds bring the fire back down canyon in the evening. On the crest, an aerial assault began with the goal of running a five-mile-long strip of retardant just below the crest, should the fire begin an uphill run. In addition to the tankers, crews also are actively brushing out the dozer lines along Camino Cielo and clearing the perimeter of Santa Ynez and Broadcast peaks to protect the mulit-million dollar electronic equipment housed there.



Sherpa Fire Holding as Hot Weather Looms

Officials keep wary eye on expected 90-plus temperatures and eastern flank burning in direction of Goleta.

Daybreak Sunday brought the welcome news that the fire had not grown during the night, and remained at 7,811 acres burned and 45-percent contained.

Gusty sundowner winds did kick up in the late afternoon and continued into the night, but only a section of vegetation high up in El Capitan Canyon seemed to be burning with any intensity, and smoke levels overall were much less than previous nights.

That section, below West Camino Cielo, remained active Sunday, and was expected to be a main focus for firefighters, according to Brendan Halle, a public information officer for the fire.

Air tankers and helicopters spent most of the day Saturday laying down lines of retardant as part of the effort to bring the blaze to containment. And that will continue Sunday.