Evacuations ordered as Cave Fire threatens Santa Barbara

A Santa Barbara City Firefighter battles flames Monday night near a Cieneguitas Road home. Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara County Fire Info/Twitter

Nov. 26 (UPI) — Evacuations have been ordered for areas of Santa Barbara as a newly sparked fire in central California threatens homes.

Dubbed the Cave Fire, the wind-driven vegetation blaze ignited at around 4:13 p.m. Monday near East Camino Ceolo and Painted Cave Road. By 10 p.m., it had grown to at least 3,300 acres with zero percent contained, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued from Ontare Road to Fairview Avenue north of Cathedral Oaks, and warnings were in place for areas north of Foothill Road from Ontare Road to Gibraltar Road and for the area west of Highway 154 to El Sueno, below Cathedral Oaks to Calle Real, Santa Barbara County said.

“Please remain alert and be prepared to evacuate if conditions change,” Santa Barbara County said.

Red Cross Central California said an evacuation shelter was established at the Goleta Valley Community Center.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said it dispatched a strike team of five engines and one battalion chief, and the Ventura County Fire Department said it sent two strike teams of 10 fire engines to assist with the fire.

Southern California Edison, the area’s largest electricity supplier, said it was considering turning off power to 423 Santa Barbara customers due to the fire, but it had yet to cut anyone’s electricity in the area.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department Public Information Officer Capt. Daniel Bertucelli said it was unknown if any structures had been damaged.

“We’re going to fight [the] fire throughout the night and tomorrow when the sun comes up we’ll get a better understanding of what sort of damage we have,” he said.

The National Weather Service issued an urgent wind advisory  Monday evening for Santa Barbara County as northern winds with gusts of up to 50 mph were expected to thrash the area until 3 a.m. Tuesday.

“Gusty winds will make driving difficult and could blow around unsecured objects,” the NWS said. “Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said it was monitoring the situation.


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