Cooler temperatures and higher humidity helped firefighters increase containment of the Alisal fire to 80% Sunday as the blaze was held at 17,254 acres and some of the personnel were allowed to return to their home bases, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Personnel working on suppressing the fire at one time topped 1,600, but the number was down to 1,304 by Monday, according to Los Padres National Forest data.
The fire slopped over the northwest perimeter a little Sunday, but a pair of Bombardier CL-415 “Super Scooper” aircraft were able to fill up with water from Cachuma Lake “on the fly” and quickly doused the escaping flames, according to the Forest Service and Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Few hot spots remained Monday, when forecast cooler temperatures and high humidity levels were expected to help firefighters contain patches of heat along the northwest edge and keep the flames within the existing footprint, Los Padres spokeswoman Jennifer Gray said.
However, efforts Monday were turning to damage repair in the burn area that extends from Cañada del Cementerio in the west to Cañada del Capitan on the east and from the ocean shoreline on the south to near Bald Mountain on the north, Gray said.
She advised motorists on Highway 101 along the southern edge of the fire to use caution and give firefighters and their equipment wide berth while passing.
Although forecasters are calling for a slight warming and drying trend Tuesday through Friday, winds continuing to pushing over the area from the south are not expected to cause a flare-up or spot fire.
Gray said the evacuation order has been canceled for the area west of Arroyo Hondo to intersection of highways 101 and 1, Arroyo Hondo Canyon, Refugio Canyon and the area between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo.
But she advised residents returning home to use caution, as emergency personnel continue working in the area, where access is restricted to residents only.
Those entering the area without proof of residency or official business may be cited by law enforcement, Gray said.
Southern California Edison crews are replacing power poles and will continue using helicopters to inspect power lines and poles throughout the week.
Los Padres officials also have closed the Santa Barbara Ranger District surrounding the fire through Nov. 16. A map highlighting the closed area is available at www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.