Hot, dry weather grows Whittier Fire; evacuation order remains

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Warming temperatures and higher winds fueled the growth of the Whittier Fire overnight, despite firefighters' efforts to contain it.

The fire has grown to 18,015 acres – up from 13,199 Friday. Containment dropped from 52 to 49 percent.

Firefighters in Santa Barbara County battled hot, dry conditions as they fought the fire near Cachuma Lake in Los Padres National Forest.

Jay Nichols, a spokesperson for the firefighting units, said hot and dry offshore winds helped fan the flames – but fire crews continue to hold the perimeter.

“You know we're anticipating this weather event to continue through [Saturday]. It's going to be hotter and dryer,” he said. “The marine layer is lower. So we've ramped up some of our firefighters and equipment. So we've added additional engines and additional firefighters."

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department issued an evacuation order Friday for areas around the Whittier Fire as firefighters continued working to contain it. 

The order, which is still in effect, covers about 372 homes in the following areas:

  • All of Winchester Canyon Road excluding the community of Wagon Wheel, Langlo Ranch Road and Winchester Commons west to El Capitan Ranch Road.
  • Calle Real north to West Camino Cielo from Winchester Canyon Rd on the east to El Capitan Ranch Road on the west.

For details about evacuations -- you can call the Whittier Fire information center at 805-699-6451.

Check back for updates to this story. For the latest fire information, see KPCC's FireTracker.

This story has been updated.

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