Fire crews were able to maintain the work done during Friday and successfully minimized the growth of the Rey fire which is now burning at 33,006 acres at 46-percent containment, officials announced Saturday.
Firefighters continued to build lines to increase and strengthen containment on the east end of the fire to control the slop over across the Mono Creek drainage. On the north side of the fire, crews were supported by retardant drops as they continued to build direct line. Last night, crews patrolled the west end of the fire to make sure the perimeter is secure and continued to construct line directly on the fire's perimeter along the eastern flank.
On Saturday, crews will continue to construct direct line on the fire's east perimeter with air support backing up ground efforts. Fire crews will monitor the west end of the fire to make sure the perimeter is secure. Suppression repair will continue on various portions of the fire line.
A high-pressure system will build over the area bringing warmer and drier weather, according to forecasts. Westerly winds will pick up Saturday afternoon after the marine layer dissipates. Wind speeds are expected to travel three to six miles per hour, with gusts up to 14 miles per hour.
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"The plan today is for crews to go and mop up the fire, hole the containment lines on the north side, and do some suppression repair from the dozers that were damaged from fighting [Rey]," said Pam Bierce, Incident Management Team spokeperson for the Rey fire. "The fire slopped over onto the eastern side, so crews will be making lines around those and continue securing it."
Bierce added: "We're estimated that the containment date will be on Aug. 31 but that all really depends on how the fire behaves, the weather, and different variable winds conditions. But I have to say, we're doing really well, we're making very good progress."
Currently, 1,799 total personnel are assigned to battle the fire. The cause of the Rey fire that began Aug. 18 remains under investigation. One injury has been reported as a result of the fire.
People who live or work off of Paradise Road have been allowed to return to the area. Paradise Road will remain closed to the public, campers and anyone not affiliated with the suppression actions to provide for firefighter and public safety. Law enforcement officers will be checking ID's so that only residents or employees will be allowed in. All additional road closures remain in effect. Highway 154 is open to the traffic.
A closure order went into effect on Aug. 25 for portions of the forest in and around the Rey fire perimeter and portions of the Dick Smith Wilderness and San Rafael Wilderness. The Los Padres National Forest raised fire restriction to Level Four, which includes no wood and charcoal campfires, use of gas stoves only in designated campgrounds, no target shooting, no smoking and no fireworks.
Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210