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Cave Fire Burns More Than 3000 Acres In Santa Barbara County, But Homes Protected

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)
Firefighters battling the Cave Fire on Highway 154 Monday night

A fast moving brush fire has burned more than 3,000 acres of land in Santa Barbara County, and forced thousands of evacuations.

The Cave Fire started just after 4 Monday afternoon in the West Camino Cielo area.  Strong wind help the blaze grow rapidly in the rugged mountains of San Marcos Pass, north of Santa Barbara and Goleta.

The fire created a sea of flames, and smoke visible for miles. Evacuations were ordered north of Cathedral Oaks in Santa Barbara and Goleta.

Firefighters and law enforcement officers focused on getting people out of the danger zone, and protecting homes.  As of midnight, there was no word of any homes being lost.  Highway 154 was closed between Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley by the blaze.

The wind eased during the overnight hours, and flames wern't as widespread as they were early Monday evening, when the strong wind occurred.

Rain is in the forecast for early Wednesday morning, which could potentially help firefighters deal with hot spots.  But, it could also create concerns about flash flooding, or debris flows in newly burned areas.  Up to an inch of rain is expected on the coast and inland, with possibly three inches in some South Coast mountain areas.