SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA.com) — Mandatory evacuations were ordered on Wednesday as a vegetation fire threatened homes in the Painted Cave area of Santa Barbara.
KNX 1070′s Jon Baird reports 40 homes in the area have been evacuated and one firefighter has been hurt.
A large head of smoke was visible from Highway 154 near the top of the San Marcos Pass after the fire broke out around 7:45 a.m., according to Andrew Madsen of the Los Padres National Forest.
The U.S. Forest Service responded to the blaze with the help of Santa Barbara County Fire units. The size of the brush fire is approximately 15-25 acres with wind gusts up to 7 m.p.h.
Highway 154 at Painted Cave has been closed. Fire officials say about 100 structures are threatened.
Eric Garcia of the US Forest Service told KNX 1070′s John Brooks the lack of any real wind gusts has helped firefighters make some gains.
“The winds right now are in favor, they’re kind of pushing straight up,” Garcia said. “But we all know it’s gonna get hotter and drier today, and today’s gonna be the hottest day of the week, so that’s gonna start a challenge.”
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An estimated 434 customers were also without power, but there was no immediate information on what caused the outage, according to Southern California Edison.
A Reverse 911 message has been initiated for residents in the Painted Cave area.
Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Dave Sadecki told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO officials were concerned about this particular blaze from the very start.
“We do have a big problem,” said Sadecki. “It’s kind of early in the morning to have a fire of this magnitude.”
The area experienced heavy damage during a fire in 1990 that ultimately destroyed hundreds of homes.