Sherpa Fire Update

Sherpa Fire photos of a firetruck and hydrant.

The Sherpa Fire reminds us that with another long dry summer of drought ahead, conservation remains critical.  Please help conserve water for public health and safety by reducing water use.

How is the District supporting firefighting efforts?

The Goleta Water District is coordinating with Unified Command to ensure awareness of District resources, and has participated in briefings with the Emergency Operations Center.  Shortly after the fire began and an emergency operations base station was established at Dos Pueblos High School, the District set up three temporary high velocity filling stations to assist firefighting operations.  Additionally, a hydrant located at the terminus of the Goleta West Conduit at El Capitan is being used by emergency personnel, and the District recently added hydrants at the intersection of Highway 154 and Foothill Road, and at Santa Barbara County Fire Headquarters for use by firefighters.

Where is the water being used to fight the fire coming from?

The water used to fight the fire depends on where resources are located, and the type of equipment.  Fire crews are filling trucks using water from the El Capitan Mutual Water District, as well as the non-potable District fire hydrant located at El Capitan.  The District-provided filling stations at Dos Pueblos are being used to fill tankers and trucks.  Air crews are using water to mix Phos-Chek at the Santa Maria Airport and at a temporary Phos-Chek mixing station at Bishop Ranch.  Currently, no water is being used from Lake Cachuma.

How much water is being used to fight the fire?

Approximately 50-75,000 gallons a day is being provided by the District through hydrants and filling stations.  This equates to about 350,000 gallons, 435 HCF, or 1 acre foot a week of District water used to fight the Sherpa Fire.  For comparison, total demand during the fire averaged about ten million gallons a day and consumption projected for next year across the District for all uses is 10,938 acre feet.  Keep in mind that due to the rugged and rural terrain where the fire was burning, firefighters also using vegetation breaks and hand clearing to fight the fire.

(Published June 21, 2016)