July 13, 2008

Crews Say Gap Fire is Mostly Contained

By Ventura County Star, Calif.

Jul. 13--The Gap fire that once threatened Goleta was declared 85 percent contained Saturday evening, with full containment expected by Wednesday.

Officials said Saturday that the 9,443-acre wildland fire that began July 1 north of the city in Los Padres National Forest has not grown significantly in the past three days.

"It's been very, very tame," said John Ahlman, fire information officer for the forest.

Ahlman said crews had cut a line around all but 1 miles of the fire area but were having a hard time finishing the job because of the rough terrain.

Four outbuildings have been destroyed, but no homes were lost. The cost of fighting the blaze exceeds $18 million. A mandatory evacuation remained in effect for West Camino Cielo west of the Windermere Ranch. All other area evacuations have been downgraded to warnings or lifted.

All national forest lands south of Highway 154 and East Camino Cielo between Gibraltar Road and Refugio Road are closed to the public.

Officials said the area will remain closed until the Gap fire is suppressed. The closure prohibits all public entry to national forest lands, trails, roads and recreation sites.

The fire is believed to have been started by humans, but the cause is still under investigation, Ahlman said.


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Copyright (c) 2008, Ventura County Star, Calif.

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