While early estimates were that the Cuesta Fire would be fully contained by Wednesday, Cal Fire says it probably will wait for up to a week before officially declaring the fire 100 percent contained.
"It's likely going to hover at that 90 percent, 95 percent containment for about a week," Cal Fire spokesman Bennet Milloy said Wednesday afternoon. "And the work will probably continue for some time up there."
Milloy said even once the fire is fully contained, firefighters will stick around to monitor the area and clean up for several weeks.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the fire south of Santa Margarita was still at 90 percent containment, with a total of 1,071 personnel, 44 engines, 12 water tenders, seven dozers and three helicopters continuing to work at the scene.
As the fire dies down, focus has shifted to its cause.
Earlier in the week, Cal Fire released a photo of a white-pickup truck towing a trailer and VW bug believed to have started the Cuesta Fire, and asked for help in identifying and finding the driver.
Cal Fire investigator Cpl. Kevin McLean said Wednesday the agency has received "multiple leads" from the anonymous callers since releasing the photo, "and we are following every single one of them."
McLean said Cal Fire obtained the photos from a “concerned citizen” but would not provide details. He also would not say if the agency would seek to prosecute the driver if he or she were found to have caused the fire.
"Right now we are just looking to talk to the person," McLean said. "They are a person of interest. After that, I can't say."
Meanwhile, firefighting personnel continue to face challenges in the burn area, such as poison oak, Milloy said.
As of Wednesday morning, medics have treated about 200 cases of poison oak, though there are likely more who have come into contact with the plant but did not seek medical treatment, Milloy said.
"That's definitely something unique to this fire," said Milloy, who has a case of poison oak himself. "Normally, on similar situations, we could have maybe 30 cases. But to see 200 is definitely unique."
Milloy attributed the high number of cases to the burn area's dense underbrush, where poison oak has been left undisturbed for years, and has grown in very thick patches that are hard to avoid.
To combat this, the firefighters have been encouraged to use a pre-treatment soap that breaks down poison oak oils faster and can help prevent its rapid spread, Milloy said. Steroids have also been administered to several personnel who had "severe allergic reactions" to the plant.