Zaca Fire

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Zaca Fire
Active flame front of the fire.
LocationSan Rafael Mountains,
Los Padres National Forest,
Santa Barbara County, California
Coordinates34°42′57″N 119°46′58″W / 34.7159°N 119.7828°W / 34.7159; -119.7828Coordinates: 34°42′57″N 119°46′58″W / 34.7159°N 119.7828°W / 34.7159; -119.7828
Cost$118.3 million (2017 USD)
Date(s)July 4, 2007 (2007-07-04) – October 29, 2007 (2007-10-29)
Burned area240,207 acres (972 km2)
CauseSparks from a grinding machine on private property
Buildings destroyed1
Non-fatal injuries43
Zaca Fire is located in southern California
Zaca Fire
Location of fire in Southern California.

The Zaca Fire was a wildfire that began burning in the San Rafael Mountains, northeast of the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County, California. It was also the single largest wildfire of the 2007 California wildfire season. The fire started on July 4, 2007, and by August 31, it had burned over 240,207 acres (972.083 km2), making it California's second largest fire in recorded history at that time after the Cedar Fire of 2003.[2][3] As of 2020, it is California's tenth-largest recorded fire in modern history.[4] The fire was contained on September 4, 2007,[5] with the fire being brought under control on October 29, 2007.[6]


On July 4, 2007, at 10:53 AM PDT, the Zaca Fire was started as a result of sparks from a grinding machine on private property, which was being used to repair a water pipe.[3][7][1] It spread to a size of 240,207 acres (972.08 km2) in August.[2][8] By August 12, progress was being made on the fire through the combined efforts of firefighters and aircraft. Firefighters were able to turn the direction of the fire away from the Paradise Road community.[9]

The Zaca Fire neared containment on September 2.[5] On September 4, 2007, the fire had cost $117 million to fight, and was 100% contained.[1] Hotspots within the fire perimeter continued to burn for over another month, until the Zaca Fire was fully brought under control on October 29, 2007.[6] Of the 43 non-fatal injuries 2 occurred when a helicopter assigned to the incident crashed.[10]


The fire had primarily burned away from populated areas in extremely steep and rugged areas of the San Rafael Mountains in the Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Ynez River Recreation Area.[2] It only destroyed one Forest Service outbuilding. Its impacts on the environment and area water resources are not yet fully known.[11] Many trails and campgrounds in the Dick Smith Wilderness were destroyed. Since then, a number of them have been rebuilt.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Zaca Fire Incident Information". CAL FIRE. 4 September 2007. Archived from the original on 3 December 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b c [1] Cal Fire update page
  3. ^ a b "Zaca Fire information on Yuba net". Archived from the original on 2007-09-01. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
  4. ^ "Top 20 Largest California Wildfires" (PDF). CAL FIRE. September 11, 2020. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Zaca Wildland Fire". Retrieved 2007-09-03.
  6. ^ a b "Zaca Fire Controlled But Not Out[permanent dead link]" InciWeb. Retrieved on November 6, 2007
  7. ^ "Officials Find Cause of Zaca Fire", KEYT3 news, July 6, 2007 Archived at Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Giana Magnoli (December 13, 2017). "Earlier wildfires may hold key to stopping giant Thomas Fire". The Tribune. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  9. ^ Daniel, Stacy; Tina Leonard (August 12, 2007). "Critical turn in the Zaca Fire: DC-10 Airtanker flies over and Evacuation Order downgraded". KSBY-TV—San Luis Obispo, CA. MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-08-22.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Zaca Fire Copter Crashes" by J'Amy Brown, Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved on October 20, 2018
  11. ^ "Zaca Fire Impacts Will Linger for Years" by Ray Ford, Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved on November 6, 2007

External links[edit]