Rain needed to fully contain Whitter Fire, officials say - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Rain needed to fully contain Whitter Fire, officials say

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While the Whittier Fire seems to have been quiet for some time now, full containment could be weeks or even months away.

Los Padres National Forest Service Spokesman Andrew Madsen says the last few miles of containment line are on the southern edge of the fire in a very rocky area where lines cannot be cut.

Infrared flights have been done and show some hot spots in that area, according to Madsen, who says that full containment will likely not come until the area receives some rain. 

Despite that, Madsen says there has been no other fire activity in the area, which has seen strong winds at times. A small crew still monitors the area as well.

Nearly 50 structures were destroyed by the fire, which broke out the afternoon of July 8 on the south side of Highway 154, burned 18,430 acres and remains 87 percent contained. Full containment was initially expected by Aug. 30.

To date, the firefight has cost more than $38.4 million. 

Madsen says the forest service is geared up and ready for this week's forecasted heat wave, which could bring triple-digit temperatures to parts of the Central Coast. 

He adds that many local crews assigned to fires in other parts of the state and country have now returned home. 

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