An out of control brush fire in Santa Barbara County has now charred more than 1,000 acres of land, prompting some evacuations, and forcing the closure of Highway 154 for much of the afternoon.
The fire is in the Los Padres National Forest, on the Santa Ynez Valley side of San Marcos Pass.
It led to the full closure of Highway 154 from Santa Barbara, to the Santa Ynez Valley. However, the highway is now open.
The U.S. Forest Service’s Andrew Madsen says what’s being called the White Fire was discovered just after 2:30 this afternoon, in the White Rock Day Use Area.
It’s a sparsely populated area, but some scattered homes in the remote Upper Oso were evacuated, as were people from day areas, and campgrounds. The blaze is now burning east, away from most homes, and towards some wilderness areas.
The American Red Cross set up a shelter for evacuees at the Wake Center, which is at 300 North Turnpike Road in Goleta.
There are no reports of injuries. One structure has been damaged, and some vehicles destroyed There’s no word yet on the fire’s cause.
Some 600 firefighters are battling the blaze. Air tankers and helicopters were used during the daylight hours. The fire is now 5% contained, but there’s no word on when full containment might occur.