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Whittier Fire cost now at $38.4 million; full containment weeks - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Whittier Fire cost now at $38.4 million; full containment weeks away

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A helicopter makes a drop on the Whittier Fire. (Photo: Mike Eliason/SB Co. Fire) A helicopter makes a drop on the Whittier Fire. (Photo: Mike Eliason/SB Co. Fire)

Additional staffing for the Whittier Fire is on hand as forest service officials say sundowner winds are expected in the area overnight. 

While little fire activity is anticipated, fire officials say winds could kick up embers and they want to be ready just in case.

The fire, which broke out the afternoon of July 8 on the south side of Highway 154, has burned 18,430 acres and remains 87 percent contained. Full containment is expected by Aug. 30.

Los Padres National Forest Service Spokesman Andrew Madsen says the last few miles of containment line is on the southern edge of the fire in a very rocky area. Madsen says they plan to continue water drops in that area to tame the fire and let it smolder out on its own. Firefighters will monitor the fire and make sure it does not escape past what Madsen called the "target area."

There are currently 125 forest service personnel and two helicopters still assigned to the fire. 

The cost to fight the fire is now at $38.4 million, according to Madsen, who says the majority of the money was spent early on. 

Firefighters are currently working to protect about $150 million in "local private values," including property, agriculture, ranching and more northwest of Goleta, Madsen said, adding that firefighters "should be in good shape if we get through this night."


 

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