Fire crews: First ‘repopulation effort’ deemed successful following Holiday Fire

Posted at 1:55 PM, Jul 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-08 16:55:18-04

Fire bosses had a better idea Sunday of the level of destruction caused by the Holiday Fire, which rapidly burned 100 acres in a Goleta neighborhood Friday night.

Matt Farris, Santa Barbara County Fire chief and the incident commander on the fire, says 10 homes have been destroyed, three homes have been damaged and eight outbuildings have been destroyed, as of the latest count.

The bulk of the work for fire crews on Sunday is putting out hotspots and flare-ups in and around homes. Farris says the work is difficult because the homes are unstable and present a danger to firefighter.

"At this point, we just have to let some of them burn out by themselves," Farris said.

The original staffing of 500 firefighters was reduced to about 200 Sunday, according to Farris. Containment still stands at 80 percent and likely won’t change much until midweek.

The cause of the fire, which broke out around 8:45 p.m. Friday near Holiday Hill Road, is still under investigation.

The mandatory evacuation area was downsized Saturday evening and Farris called the "re-population" effort successful.

Farris and his staff planned to re-evaluate the area Sunday to determine if more residents in the currently mandatory evacuation areas could potentially return Monday.

In the mean time, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is assisting residents who live in the mandatory evacuation area with collecting necessities from their homes, like clothing and medication.

Farris commended fire crews who are working in hot temperatures and in dangerous surroundings for their round-the-clock efforts.

"The firefighters have done outstanding work," Farris said. "100 acres in a small town sounds like a lot, but in the grand-scheme (of things), keeping it out of the mountains and from hitting other homes, (firefighters) were very effective."