Brush Fire Erupts in Santa Barbara Area Amid Strong Winds; Evacuation Warning in Effect Until Morning
A wind-driven brush fire in the Los Padres National Forest above Santa Barbara prompted a multi-agency response on Thursday morning.
The Gibralter Fire, which is burning about a half-mile off of Camino Cielo, west of Montecito Peak, was first reported at approximately 5:16 a.m., according to the Montecito Fire Protection District.
Shortly before 9:30 a.m., forest officials reported that the fire had burned nearly 70 acres.
That number was reduced to 50 acres Thursday evening based on improved intel from air resources and field observers, according to InciWeb, a multi-agency incident website.
The fire broke out amid as forecasters from the National Weather Service warned that powerful winds with gusts of up to 50 mph were expected in the Santa Barbara Mountains on Thursday.
A wind advisory was in effect through 5 p.m. Friday, according the weather service.
Wind speeds around 9:30 a.m. in the area were approximately 10- to- 15 mph, officials said.
Aerial video from Sky5 showed that the blaze appeared to be burning in a remote area of the forest. Plumes of thick, white smoke could be seen drifting above the mountains, with small amounts of flame visible beneath.
Multiple agencies have responded to the brush fire, including the Fire District, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service, and other local fire departments.
No evacuations have been ordered; however, an evacuation warning was in effect for the area North of Highway 192, East of Coyote, West of Buena Vista and South of East Camino Cielo, fire officials said.
The evacuation warning was expected to remain in effect until tomorrow morning, InciWeb reported.
No evacuation center was established, however, the Red Cross was on standby if needed.
The fire was burning between 3 to 5 miles from populated areas.
Six air tankers, five helicopter, 35 engines, three dozers, four water tenders and four hand crews were on scene.
It was not immediately known what sparked the blaze.