Posted by ws1 on:
Night-vision equipped firefighters made solid progress on the Jesusita fire last night.
We stood along the fence at Santa Barbara Junior High for an hour yesterday evening taking pictures (you can see them here) and marveling at the efficiency of the water refill method. A helicopter would circle in from the west, land gently in the middle of the field where a few helmeted guys with a giant hose were waiting to pump water back into it's tank. After only a minute or two, with full belly of water, the helicopter would gently lift off the ground, tilt deliberately forward, and shoot off into the night (we imagined them buzzing the cow statue on top of Cities Barbecue on Milpas). The consensus among the spectators we were standing with was that this was decidedly awesome looking.
According to a retired local firefighter named John who was also at the fence line taking photos, refilling at the San Roque reservoir is dangerous at night because there are too many variables for pilots (night vision, dark water, night time depth perception, power lines etc).
John also observed happily that the wind had shifted again in favor of the fire teams. The hot, strong offshore sundowner winds seemed not to be materializing, which we hoped would help the fire crews deliver a knock-out punch to the flames. Later when I looked up at the mountains from Las Positas, the fire seemed to be much smaller than it had been only a few hours before (photos here).
This morning an article in the Daily Sound has some good news ('cautious optimism'), and some very early speculation on the cause of the fire (based on a few tips from residents) from Fire Chief Tom Franklin.
Looking up at the mountain this morning, I'm just happy not to see flames like the ones in this photo from yesterday.
Our guess is that those electric towers are at least 100 feet tall.
See our links and photos from yesterday/ last night: