The Rey fire has grown to 31,255 acres but it is also now at 35% containment with most of the active fire in the north east side of the fire zone above the Cachuma Lake and the Gibraltar Reservoir watershed.
The burn area is precisely where water would run off during the winter storms into Gibraltar Reservoir, the Santa Ynez River and eventually to Cachuma Lake, There’s concern about how much of the growing fire zone is going to impact the main watershed area.
Tom Fayram with the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department says the national incident command team working on the fire is very aware of the sediment that is already in the water resources from past fires, such as the 2007 Zaca fire, and they are trying to prevent more damage from future runoff and rains.
He does say however, with the burn, and any strong rains ahead there will be a good chance at more runoff from the hills of both water and silt.
The firefight is including water drops around Gibraltar reservoir from the remaining water in the dam. That water might seem precious, but Fayram says it is so low and murky, it is undrinkable, but it is still very useful for fire fighting and that is why it is a valuable source for the aerial firefighting team.