Smoke from the fire could be seen from the mainland.
A fire that broke out on March 27, at about 2:30 pm on Santa Cruz Island is now fully contained. The fire, driven by moderately strong winds, grew from just 20 to 100 acres in the first three hours.
The fire escaped from a prescribed small burn pile fire that had been set earlier this week. It started near the main ranch on The Nature Conservancy property.
The Los Padres National Forest dispatched four air tankers that arrived at the island shortly after 4:30 pm the first day. They were aided on the ground by 11 National Park Service hot shot fire fighters. Santa Barbara County and Los Padres National Forest also sent out two crews of firefighters.
The ground crew effort was increased with additional firefighters, including a hotshot crew from Tonto National Forest in Arizona and teams from Sequoia and Sierra National Forests in California.
“There has been an impressive interagency effort to fight this fire: U.S. National Forest Service and National Park Service sites; Vandenberg Air Force Station; Santa Barbara County Fire; Santa Barbara City Fire; and Montecito Fire,” said Channel Islands National Park Service Superintendent Russel Galipeau. “Together, they are managing the logistical challenges of fighting fires on our remote islands and are making incredible headway. The fire appears to have not impacted any historic or cultural resources or native wildlife such as the island fox, bald eagle, or island scrub jay. We are very grateful for impressive work of all the firefighting and incident teams who worked on the Santa Cruz Fire.”
“Fire is not new to Santa Cruz Island,” said The Nature Conservancy’s California Islands Program Director Eamon O’Byrne. “We have learned over time that the island ecosystem is resilient and we are so appreciative of the hard work of the fire crews in protecting it.”
The fire burned approximately 71% nonnative species and 26% native species within its perimeter. The nonnative species included fennel, grasses, and eucalyptus logs.
“The fire appears to have not impacted any historic or cultural resources or native wildlife such as the island fox, bald eagle, or island scrub jay,” said Channel Islands National Park Service Superintendent Russel Galipeau. “We are thankful for the swift and impressive actions of our firefighting teams.”
The recent 5.3 earthquake, 57 miles south west of Channel Islands caused a slight earth slide on the island but caused no significant damage. It did scare the Bald Eagle and her new 3 chicks.
Santa Cruz Island, at 96 square miles is the largest in the chain of eight California Channel Islands. The Nature Conservancy owns 76 % of Santa Cruz Island and the National Park Service owns 24 %. Together, they cooperatively manage this island as one ecological unit.