Cave Fire: Santa Barbara County blaze explodes in size

Thursday, 28 Nov, 2019

Wind-pushed flames raced down wooded hillsides in direction of Santa Barbara, California on Tuesday, sending round 5,500 residents fleeing as firefighters battled to place properties sooner than anticipated reduction from rain. As of 9 p.m. Monday, it had swelled to 3,000 acres and was 0% contained, Santa Barbara County officials said in their local emergency declaration. Winds were clocked at 30 miles per hour and forecasts called for occasional 60 to 70 miles per hour gusts into Tuesday morning, but rain was expected later in the day.

While California utilities in recent months have proactively cut power to lessen the chances of wildfires during harsh weather conditions, Santa Barbara's outages were not planned before the fire happened, county officials said.

Around 600 firefighters, including those from Pasadena, were confronting the Cave Fire, according to a report by Pasadena Battalion Chief Anthony James. Nine helicopters, five bulldozers, and 10 fixed-wing aircraft, including a massive DC-10 air tanker, provided support Tuesday, dowsing the area with water and fire retardant.

Almost 200,000 acres (80,937 hectares) have been consumed in wildfires across the state this year, according to the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection.

He said, "We're going to fight the fire through the night, and tomorrow when the sun comes up, we'll get a better understanding of what sort of damage we have".

The National Weather Service expected rain to hit the region before dawn Wednesday, with up to an inch possible as the storm moved through.

On Tuesday morning, an Air Quality Warning was issued for Santa Barbara County by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District.

Resources have been ordered from outside the county.

Photos from the Cave Fire help convey its impact. "When it starts raining, hopefully, we can close".

Santa Barbara County set up an emergency call center for the Cave Fire, which can be reached at 833.688.5551.

Pasadena Fire deployed 11 personnel including a strike team leader, two fire engines and a water tender as part of Stroke Team 1202-A to support Santa Barbara County Fire Department units. Small animals can be taken to Goleta Animal Shelter at 5473 Overpass Road and large animals to SB Equine Evac at Earl Warren Showgrounds at 3400 Calle Real.