Firefighter Airlifted to Hospital as Rey Fire Continues to Burn

 Firefighter Airlifted to Hospital as Rey Fire Continues to Burn

27 August 2016

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USA — A firefighter reportedly suffering from a heat-related illness was airlifted from the Rey Fire area on Thursday, as crews continued battling to contain the stubborn blaze burning in the rugged Santa Barbara backcountry.

A Calstar medical helicopter landed near the Pendola Campground, a field base for firefighters, at about 5 p.m. to pick up the firefighter, reported to be a 20-year-old man.

He was flown to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.

His name, agency and details on his condition were not available.

[Scroll down for video of rescue]

The incident occurred as the fire remained most active in and around the Mono Creek drainage northeast of Gibraltar Reservoir.

By late afternoon, a sizable column of smoke was rising from that area, and flames could be seen slopping over a ridge on the canyon’s eastern ridge.

Throughout the day, air tankers laid down swaths of retardant to slow the flames, while helicopters made repeated water drops.

The fire remained active in that area until about 3 a.m. Friday, when it was slowed by increasing humidity from the marine layer.

As of Friday morning, the estimated area burned by the fire was 33,006 acres, and containment was pegged at 39 percent.

The latter number was unchanged from what was reported Thursday morning.

Nearly 2,000 fire personnel remain assigned to the fire.

There were reports that structures on the Ogilvy ranch were damaged, but that could not be confirmed.

However, a statement released by fire officials Thursday night hinted at the possibility:

“The fire spotted into the Zaca burn scar and around Ogilvy Ranch in the Mono drainage. Resources are currently assessing the possible damage and the extent of the spots,” officials said.

Flames have moved east of Mono Canyon, and now are threatening Agua Caliente Canyon, officials said.

Crews planned to reassess the fire area Thursday night to assist in repositioning firefighting resources on Friday.

Meanwhile, firefighters spent much of the day constructing and expanding a contingency containment line at the P-Bar trail to the east of the active fire, and another further east along the Pendola Jeep Trail.

Crews had expected lower temperatures on the fire lines Thursday, but officials said they did not materialize.

At 6 p.m., residents were allowed to return to their homes along Paradise Road, along the fire’s southwest flank, where the blaze began on Aug. 18.

The road was to remain closed to the public and partial closures on East Camino Cielo, which is also closed to non-residents, remained in effect.

Cause of the blaze remained under investigation, but there are indications it was sparked when a large part of an oak tree brought down power lines near the entrance to the White Rock Picnic Area along Paradise Road.

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