The Sherpa Fire started on the afternoon of June 15 at Rancho La Scherpa, near the top of Refugio Canyon along the Gaviota Coast. The fire began by accident when a ranch resident removed a burning log from a fireplace and placed it outside. Before he could extinguish it with a garden hose, wind pushed embers into nearby dry chaparral.
Mandatory evacuations were quickly ordered for Refugio, Venadito, and Las Flores canyons, as well as El Capitan State Park. Highway 101 was closed from Buellton to Winchester Canyon as fire crews aided by airplanes arrived. Sundowners blow strong all night and by the next morning the fire had spread to 1,100 acres. Over the next couple days nighttime winds continued to push the fire toward the coast. By 11 p.m. on June 17, the blaze had grown to 6,321 acres, and 1,230 active personnel continued to battle the flames.
The next morning, weather conditions changed favorably, and firefighters managed to increase containment. By June 22, the fire had burned 7,969 acres, with 89% containment. Full containment was reached on July 7. There were no fatalities and little structural damage.
Roughly six months later, on January 20, 2017, a powerful rainstorm struck the mountains along the Gaviota Coast. The heavy downpour quickly overwhelmed the creeks and other canyon drainages. Historic adobe dwellings in Las Flores Canyon were destroyed by flooding and debris. Nearby El Capitan Canyon Resort sustained severe damage and two dozen campers had to be rescued.