A brush fire that burned 300 acres Monday in the Santa Ynez Valley continued spreading Tuesday, charring an additional 215 acres of the Los Padres National Forest.
As of early Tuesday evening, the fire was 20 percent contained, but was no longer threatening any structures. It was last burning toward the northeast, aided by temperatures in the 90s and low humidity. Joe Pasinato, USDA Forest Service information officer, said he could not say when the fire would be fully contained.
“Some progress was made in containment today,” Pasinato said. “The fire is spreading to the east and north, which is good in one respect because it takes the fire away from more inhabited areas.”
On Monday, flames destroyed one residence at Red Rock Mine, in addition to over 30 trucks, trailers, tractors and other pieces of equipment on the property. Pasinato said three people, including the owner of the mine property, suffered minor injuries while running from the fire shortly after it began. They declined medical attention.
“Our biggest problem has been getting significant resources,” Pasinato said. “Resources have just come online, so we’re not at 100 percent full strength yet.”
Nearly 250 USDA Forest Service, Vandenberg Air Force Base and county firefighters have since been deployed to the burn area. California Highway Patrol and Sheriff’s Dept. officers are assisting with traffic control.
There is not yet enough equipment to go around, Pasinato said, since fire season was declared May 3 and there are other large fires burning in Southern California that are threatening structures. However, he said there should be more resources available by the end of this week.
“It’s very early in the season,” Pasinato said. “This is more like the level [of activity firefighters] would see in July.”
The cause of the blaze, known as the Cachuma fire, is still under investigation. It began mid-Monday afternoon roughly six miles from the outskirts of Santa Ynez, in the Cachuma Saddle area where Sunset Valley Road and Figueroa Mountain Road intersect.
Also Tuesday, firefighters from Santa Barbara County continued to battle fires at several other Southern California locations.
Capt. Charlie Johnson, Santa Barbara Fire Dept. spokesman, said five engines from the county and equipment from several other local agencies were dispatched early Monday and Tuesday to assist with the Eagle fire in Temecula, and with the Cerrito fire in Riverside County.