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Cause Of Major 2016 Santa Barbara County Brush Fire Determined

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)
The 2016 Sherpa brush fire burned more than 7,000 acres of land before it was controlled last summer. No homes were lost.

Investigators say a major South Coast brush fire which burned more than 7000 acres of land was the result of an accident.

The Sherpa Fire was one of the most dangerous brush fires to hit Santa Barbara County in years, burning for nearly a month last summer.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department investigators say the blaze began on La Scherpa Ranch June 15th. They say a resident of the ranch west of Goleta was burning a log in an indoor fireplace when the wind picked up, filling the home with smoke. The resident took the log outside to an outside water faucet, but hot embers hit the ground, igniting vegetation and starting the brush fire.

Despite some close calls, firefighters were able to protect ranches and homes in the rugged mountain area. The fire closed parts of Highway 101 twice.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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