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Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725
Ventura, CA — Forward progress has been made today on the Santa Cruz Fire with air tanker assistance holding the blaze to 250 acres. There is no estimate of containment of the fire at this time.
Santa Barbara County and Los Padres National Forest sent out two crews of firefighters to Santa Cruz Island this morning for a total of nearly 50 on the ground battling the blaze.
Tomorrow, additional support is expected, with two crews of 10 each arriving from Sequoia and Sierra National Forests. Hotshot crews have also been dispatched from the southwest area.
There are no reported structures at risk at this time and no injuries. Fire weather conditions have improved, with lighter winds today expected to extend through Saturday.
“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.”
A closure to public access is in place for the entire isthmus area of Santa Cruz Island. This western edge of the closure extends from the landing pier at Prisoners Harbor 220 degrees in a southwest direction to Willows Anchorage on the south side of the island. The eastern boundary is the Montañon Ridge.
For safety reasons, day visitor access to East Santa Cruz Island is closed for Thursday, March 29. There are currently 69 campers on the island who are restricted to travel in Scorpion Valley, and Cavern Point and Potato Harbor trails. Trail closures are in place at the road to Smuggler’s Cove, Oil Well, and Upper Scorpion Canyon.
Santa Cruz Island, at 96 square miles is the largest in the chain of eight California Channel Islands. The Nature Conservancy owns 76 percent of Santa Cruz Island and the National Park Service owns 24 percent. Together, they cooperatively manage this island as one ecological unit.