There are no fires burning within the Big Bear Valley or on the San Bernardino National Forest [confirmed again this morning, this afternoon], so that thick smoke you are seeing and smelling is drift smoke. This drift smoke is from the La Brea Fire on the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara, and southwest winds are bringing that smoke to the Big Bear Valley. According to Mark Mills, Assistant Fire Chief for the Big Bear Lake Fire Department, local firefighter Kelvin McKelfish is part of the Type I Federal Management Team overseeing the La Brea Fire, and McKelfish is serving as helibase manager on the incident. Per a conversation with McKelfish this morning, Assistant Chief Mills tells KBHR that the Santa Barbara-area fire grew another 20,000 acres overnight, bringing the burned total to now 67,000 acres. Given the southwest flow and the expectation of more winds and erratic fire action on the La Brea Fire, smoke here in our area will increase. Fire crews plan to helitorch 20,000 acres tonight, between the Los Padres National Forest and homes in that area, in order to safeguard against the loss of structures. As for other fires currently burning in California, the San Bernardino County Fire Department has sent strike teams to assist in combating the Lockheed Fire in the Santa Cruz mountains in Northern California. But, again, there are no fires burning in our immediate area as this is drift smoke from the La Brea Fire burning on the Los Padres National Forest in the Santa Barbara area.
No Fires in the Big Bear Valley; Southwest Winds Bringing Drift Smoke from Santa Barbara-Area La Brea Fire
Posted on 08/14/2009 Written by