Most mandatory evacuations within the Sherpa Fire were expected to be reduced to evacuation warnings on June 22 at 5 a.m., according to a news release Monday from the County of Santa Barbara.
Only landowners, residents and their farm laborers will be allowed to enter the following locations: Venadito Canyon, Canada de la Destiladera, Flores Canyon and east of the Refugio burn area east to and including Calle Lippizana near the Equestrian Center, the release stated.
All areas formally in evacuation warning status, including Calle Lippizana east to Farren Road, Las Llagas Canyon, Gato Canyon, Las Varas Canyon, Dos Pueblos Canyon and Eagle Canyon will reopen without restriction on June 22 at 5 p.m.
El Capitan Canyon will remain closed with a tentative reopening of June 25, officials said.
Refugio State Beach was expected to reopen to the public on Saturday, June 25, according to the California Department of Parks and Recreation. However, El Capitan State Beach would likely remain closed through at least July 15, officials said, pending the restoration of the water system damaged by the fire.
Crews were still facing difficult conditions Monday as an excessive heat warning was in effect for Santa Barbara County where the wildfire was 62 percent contained after scorching nearly 8,000 acres, according to the federal InciWeb page for the wildfire.
Nearly 2,000 firefighters were being used to battle the blaze, which broke out Wednesday about 11 miles northwest of Goleta.
Highway 101, which has been closed several times since the fire began, was open Monday morning. However, officials said it might close again if fire activity increases and becomes a hazard to motorists.
Weather conditions, including high heat, low humidity and sundowner winds prompted the National Weather Service to issue an Excessive Heat Warning for Santa Barbara County, including the fire area.
A Red Flag warning has also been issued through Tuesday morning.
Temperatures in the high 90s to low 100s were expected to bear down on firefighters Monday.
Gusty Sundowner winds were also likely to return to the region Monday, according to forecasters.
Fire officials were focusing efforts on protecting 60 homes in Refugio Canyon and 80 homes in El Cap Ranch, Circle Bar B and “the Narrows,” officials stated.
An evacuation center was located at the Wake Center within the Santa Barbara City College at 300 N. Turnpike Road.
Individuals with pets and livestock can contact Animal Service at 805-681-4332.
Fire officials expect to have the fire contained sometime Thursday, according to the InciWeb page.
U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire, and the Santa Barbara County Fire Department were managing the firefight.
The cause of the fire had not yet been determined.