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La Brea Fire

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Approximate Location

34.95 latitude, -119.978 longitude

Incident Overview

Map showing the progression of the fire in different colors

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The next phase of operations is now beginning, as the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team continues its studies of the area affected by the fire and makes it's recommendations regarding treatments for rehabilitating the area.


A closure (call 805-925-9538 or on the Internet) will remain in place for the general area in and around the La Brea Fire, until most likely next spring. This closure will allow the areas affected by the fire a chance to heal, as new growth vegetation begins to appear. Crews are still working in and around the area of the fire and the closure is for the safety of forest visitors, as there is a danger of falling trees, rolling rocks and other safety hazards present where the fire burned. There is also risk of flash flooding in streams and rivers should rain occur and is why the Sisquoc River will remain closed from the Forest boundary to Wellman Camp. The emergency closure prohibits public entry to all national forest lands, trails, roads and recreation sites within the closure area specified below. The closure applies only to national forest lands and does not affect private lands within the national forest boundary.


The La Brea Fire is a reminder of the fire prone conditions that exist in the area, especially to those families who needed to be evacuated during the course of the fire. The advent of another El Nino adds to the possibility of more unstable weather. The right combination of lightning and wind can pose a serious threat to individual homes as well as whole communities.

How fire defensible is your home? Saving your home, your life, and the life of firefighters depends on defensible space around your home. Preparing and maintaining defensible space around your home is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from wildfire. California law requires homeowners to clear a 100 foot zone of defensible space around their home.


Basic Information

Incident TypeWildfire
CauseFire was started by a cooking fire at a marijuana drug trafficking operation.
Date of OriginSaturday August 08th, 2009 approx 02:50 PM
Location21 Miles east of Santa Maria

Current Situation

Size89,489 acres
Percent Contained100%
Estimated Containment DateSaturday August 22nd, 2009 approx 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

The area where the fire was located consists of primarily chaparral with areas of grass and timber. A typical chaparral plant community consists of densely-growing evergreen scrub oaks and other drought-resistant shrubs. It often grows so densely that it is inpenetrable to large animals and humans. This, and its generally arid condition, makes it notoriously prone to wildfires.

Unit Information

USFS Shield
Los Padres National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
6755 Hollister Avenue
Suite 150
Goleta, CA 93117

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