Gap Fire (2008)

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Gap Fire
2008 Gap Fire From Space.jpg
NASA satellite photo of the fire.
LocationSanta Ynez Mountains, Goleta, California
Coordinates34°30′04″N 119°51′47″W / 34.501°N 119.863°W / 34.501; -119.863Coordinates: 34°30′04″N 119°51′47″W / 34.501°N 119.863°W / 34.501; -119.863
Date(s)July 1, 2008 (2008-07-01) – July 28, 2008 (2008-07-28)
Burned area9,443 acres (38.21 km2)
Perpetrator(s)A 16 year-old juvenile
Gap Fire (2008) is located in southern California
Gap Fire (2008)
Location of Gap Fire in Southern California

The Gap Fire was a fire that burned 9,443 acres (38.21 km2) of the Santa Ynez Mountains above Goleta, California between July 1 and July 28, 2008. The fire burned primarily on steep slopes above the community of Goleta. Dense brush that had not burned in over fifty years, coupled with steep terrain made the fire challenging for firefighters.[3]

Initial efforts by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department nearly contained the fire before it broke loose.[4] When the first engine arrive on scene at 5:32 p.m. on July 1, the fire was less than a quarter acre, but then winds came up and swept the fire over the ridge and down into drainage.[4] By July 3 the fire had grown to more than 2,000 acres (810 ha) forcing the county to declare a state of emergency.[4] During the initial operational periods, the fire was driven downhill by Sundowner winds and burned to the edges of Goleta requiring the multiple strike teams for structure protection.[3] After the initial 48 hours, the winds died down allowing firefighters to begin working in the mountainous terrain to contain the fire.

Power Issues[edit]

The fire caused major power issues for residents and businesses in Goleta, Isla Vista, Santa Barbara and even as far south as Montecito.[5] Southern California Edison high voltage transmission lines carrying power to the region pass directly through the area of the fire. During the peak of the outages, over 150,000 customers were reported to be without power.[4]

Relief efforts[edit]

Emergency response organization Direct Relief provided 35,000 free NIOSH N-95 particulate respirators to local residents.[6]


  1. ^ a b Meagher, Chris (17 November 2008). "Gap Fire Arson Arrest". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  2. ^ "Gap Fire". InciWeb. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b "2008 June Fire Siege" (PDF). CAL FIRE. CAL FIRE. p. 105. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Stewart, Ethan (10 July 2008). "The Great Gap Fire of 2008". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  5. ^ Macfadyen, William. "West Goleta Residents Ordered Out as Gap Fire Grows to 8,400 Acres". Noozhawk. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  6. ^ Hutain, Jenny (2008-07-07). "Two-Day Distribution Provides 35,000 Particulate Masks". Direct Relief. Retrieved 2019-05-31.