The traditional peak of fire season on the Central Coast lies ahead as local fire authorities urge extreme caution, vigilance and care especially in backcountry areas.
The cool, thick and moist marine layer that’s blanketed the Cental Coast overnight and in the morning hours in recent days is a deception to the high fire danger conditions that continue to exist.
A high fire danger warning remains in place for most areas of the Central Coast and in the Los Padres National Forest where visitor restrictions are being strictly enforced.
“We’re at critical levels for fuel moisture across the Forest”, said USFS District Manager Jay Ennis, “our last one was at 57 percent, and the critical level for us is anything below 60, so the vegetation is ripe for fire spread right now.”
The recent Front Fire in northern Santa Barbara County which was held to about 1,000 acres and the Ogilvy Fire this past weekend in a more remote part of the Santa Barbara County backcountry serve as reminders of the high fire danger that exists all along the Central Coast.
“Within recent fire scars we still have a grass crop and that will carry and there’s still a lot of forest out there”, Ennis said, “the Los Padres National Forest is one of the largest forest’s in California and though we’ve had quite a few large fires in the Forest in recent years there’s still a lot of available land to burn out there.”
Despite mutual aid requests for other fires across the state including a new wildfire burning in Shasta County, both the Forest Service and Cal Fire are maintaining elevated firefighting staffing levels on the Central Coast.
For more information on fire restrictions in the Los Padres National Forest go to www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.
The high fire danger on the Central Coast is expected to continue through September, into October and possibly into November until the first rains arrives.