Alisal Fire Update
Monday, October 18
9:15 a.m. ET
Sunday was another quiet day at the Reagan Ranch. As of October 17, 78% of the fire has been contained after having covered more than 17,000 acres (see map below.)
While flames did not reach the Reagan Reagan or the properties adjacent to the Reagan Ranch, which YAF also owns, they did get amazingly close. Again, we are grateful to so many generous supporters who helped support improvements to our water capacity, fire prevention, and other significant steps to protect the property.
As mentioned in earlier updates, bulldozers were used to protect the Ranch, they move significant amounts of land on the edges of the property. We will have to regrade and plant these areas. Understandably, the bulldozers also caused significant damage to Pennsylvania Avenue, our private road leading to the Reagan Ranch. Young America’s Foundation will need to repair this road.
In the weeks and months ahead, our team will do a full review to determine what additional steps should be taken to ensure the continued protection of this national treasure.
One major area of concern is the roadway to Rancho del Cielo, Refugio Road. Below are some pictures of the damage done as the blaze went across the road.
We will have to be very careful heading into the winter, as the lack of vegetation could cause erosion, loose rocks, and—eventually—mudslides. Young America’s Foundation will work with local, state, and federal officials on repairs to this public road.
October 16, 2021
3:30 p.m. ET
Young America’s Foundation is happy to share some good news! It was a quiet night at the Reagan Ranch. Crews are still on the property, but we were able to give our YAF staff a break.
Reagan Ranch Director Andrew Coffin reports that, while the Reagan Ranch property is still safe, there is extensive burn areas lower in the canyon. Debris flows and mud slides are likely to be a major problem this winter. And while flames have not touched the property, bulldozers have moved massive amounts of dirt and tore up parts of the road leading to the Ranch.
In the weeks and months ahead, YAF will conduct a full review to examine any additional fire safety and prevention measures we can take to protect the Reagan Ranch.
Below are some photos Ranch Manager Flemming Bertlesen took EARLIER this week. (Please note: they are not pictures from the past 24 hours.) These images show just how close the fire was to the Reagan Ranch, and why we were right to take aggressive action to move ground and spray structures.
Overall, the Alisal Fire has covered 17,200 acres. As of this Saturday morning, it was 50% contained.The map below shows the fire area in red. The bold, black lines are the containment lines. The Reagan Ranch and YAF’s adjacent properties are next to the edge of the containment. (This map marks the Ranch property by its former name, Tip Top Ranch).
The fire line that surrounds the Reagan Ranch and adjacent ranches owned by YAF is largely attributable to three things: 1) geography, 2) fire personnel who know the importance of the property and did amazing work to protect it; and 3) God’s grace with winds blowing away from the property on Tuesday and calming winds on Wednesday.
Our YAF team also implemented an exceptional plan, and we are blessed by wonderful supporters and board members who helped YAF invest in top-notch technology and equipment.
If you would like to help YAF continue to protect the Reagan Ranch, please click here.
October 15, 2021
10:00 a.m. ET
As of 6:00 a.m. PT Friday, Morning, the Alisal Fire has grown to 16,901 acres but is now 41% contained. Wind has still not materialized, and things were quiet to the west of the Reagan Ranch overnight. Wednesday was a real concern, and there were multiple bulldozers in that area.
Airplanes continue to drop fire retardant around and near Rancho del Cielo, and YAF’s Freedom Lake continues to be a source of water for helicopters fighting this fire throughout the area.
While it is quieter to the east of the Ranch, the fire continues burning near Refugio Road. Officials estimate the fire could be contained around October 25.
The landscape at the Ranch is changed in many areas, as bulldozers have cleared land to slow the fire, should it reach those areas.
The Forest Service crew helped Young America’s Foundation’s team apply more PHOS-CHEK FORTIFY fire retardant around the property. This will protect the ranch home, tack barn, Secret Service building, and even the fence built out of telephone polls by the President.
Young America’s Foundation remains ever-thankful our YAF staff who remain on site: Andrew Coffin, Brent Kilpper, Alec Sackett, Micah Salazar, Adam Ochs, and Flemming Bertelsen—our ranch manager who has a background with the Forest Service, with a primary focus in wild land fire suppression. We are so very grateful for Flemming’s advanced planning and expertise in fire protection and firefighting.
Our prayers continue for the more than 1,700 fire fighters attacking this blaze.
Young America’s Foundation is grateful to our supporters and board members who have allowed us to invest so extensively in the Ranch’s current fire protection systems. These gifts have ensured the Ranch remains in a defensible position as we face its greatest threat to date. If you would like to help YAF protect Rancho del Cielo, please click here.
October 14, 2021
10:30 a.m. ET
As of Thursday morning, the fire has not advanced in any substantial way towards the Reagan Ranch. That is welcome news.
There are some inaccurate media reports noting that the Reagan Ranch has been evacuated. The surrounding area is under evacuation orders but several YAF staff members, including Reagan Ranch Director Andrew Coffin, remain on site and are actively engaged with fire personnel who are aware of our staff’s presence at Rancho del Cielo.
The fire grew to more than 15,000 acres on Wednesday and remains at about 5% containment. A federal Type 1 incident management team took over control of the firefighting effort on Wednesday evening.
Around 1,200 firefighters are now assigned to battle the blaze. Helicopters continue to utilize Freedom Lake at Rancho del Cielo to fill up with water to fight the fire throughout the area.
Another crew was stationed with an engine by the main ranch adobe home again last night.
In a report to the media, Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig stated they expect to see a “see-sawing” behavior of the fire as the offshore winds will push it up further into the canyons. We expect to see fire crews in this area for months to come.
Young America’s Foundation is making alternative plans for our High School Conference at the Reagan Ranch scheduled for next week. While the conference will still take place and sessions will be held at the Reagan Ranch Center in downtown Santa Barbara, a planned Reagan Ranch tour will be replaced with a visit to and tour of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Students and parents with questions about this program should contact Conference Co-Director Madison Habersetzer at 888-USA-1776 or [email protected].
For media inquiries, please contact Vice President and Chief of Staff Jessica Jensen at [email protected] or 703-318-9608.
October 13, 2021
12:00 p.m. ET
Young America’s Foundation is closely monitoring the Alisal Fire which is near our beloved Rancho del Cielo. We are taking all necessary precautions. The fire started on Monday, October 11, near the Alisal Reservoir and has covered more than 13,000 acres. The fire has attracted national media attention and has closed Refugio Road and portions of Highway 101. It is spreading throughout an area that has not burned since 1955, and prevailing conditions are fueling the fire’s spread.
Young America’s Foundation has emergency personnel on site, and our fire suppression systems are tested and ready to go. We are in direct contact with emergency officials and fire service personnel are on the Reagan Ranch property.
An estimated 800 fire fighters have been deployed to fight this blaze. Our team has confirmed that tanker airplanes, bulldozers, and other necessary equipment has been dispatched to help protect the Reagan Ranch and surrounding properties from this fire.
YAF leadership is working with Congressional allies and other leaders who are offering their support in acquiring resources to help fight this fire. We have been offered two more C-130 tankers to help fight the blaze.
Fire engines are on the Reagan Ranch property and fire retardant will be sprayed around the structures. YAF is working with local emergency crews to provide access to two lakes at Rancho del Cielo which contain more than one million gallons of water. Helicopters were filling up from Freedom Lake yesterday.
Young America’s Foundation is extremely grateful for the emergency crews and YAF staff working tirelessly to protect the Reagan Ranch and all structures impacted by the Alisal Fire. We pray for their safety.
Over the years—with the help and leadership of our supporters, staff, and board members—we have taken extraordinary steps to shield Rancho del Cielo from this very threat. Protecting the Reagan Ranch from the threat of wildfire has been a top priority of our Board of Directors, the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors, and our entire team.
We have confidence that our staff and the emergency crews will do everything they can to protect Rancho del Cielo and the surrounding area. YAF will continue to post updates to our website.
Please pray for the safety of all those helping fight this fire and protect Rancho del Cielo and surrounding properties.
October 12, 2021
3:00 p.m. ET
Young America’s Foundation has confirmed that the Alisal Fire is currently at 0% containment, with 6,000+ acres burned. The fire is currently burning in Refugio Canyon below Rancho del Cielo. Local news reports an estimated 600 fire fighters have been deployed to fight this blaze.
YAF leadership is working with Congressional allies and other leaders who are offering their support in acquiring resources to help fight this fire.
There are currently several fire engines on the Reagan Ranch property and fire retardant is being sprayed around the structures. YAF is working with local emergency crews to provide access to two lakes at Rancho del Cielo which contain more than one million gallons of water.
October 12, 2021
8:45 a.m. ET
Young America’s Foundation is closely monitoring the Alisal Fire near Rancho del Cielo and taking all necessary precautions. This fire started on Monday, October 11, near the Alisal Reservoir and has covered more than 3,900 acres. The fire has closed Refugio Road and portions of Highway 101. It is spreading throughout an area that has not burned since 1955, and current conditions—high winds, warm temperatures, and low humidity—are fueling the fire’s spread. Darkness and winds stopped the tanker planes from being able to drop over the fire last night.
Young America’s Foundation has emergency personnel on site, our systems are tested and prepped, and we are in direct contact with emergency officials.
If necessary, crews are prepared to wet down the area around key structures at Rancho del Cielo today.
YAF President Governor Scott Walker stated, “Young America’s Foundation is extremely grateful for the emergency crews and YAF staff working tirelessly to protect the Reagan Ranch and all structures impacted by the Alisal Fire. We pray for their safety as they battle this fire and protect all those impacted. Over the years—with the help and leadership of our supporters, staff, and board members—we have taken the necessary steps, as much as a property owner can do, to shield Rancho del Cielo from this very threat. I have confidence our team and the emergency crews will do everything they can to protect Rancho del Cielo and the surrounding area.”
We will post updates as they become available.