cave fire

While California is focused on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, firefighters on the Central and South Coasts are preparing for peak wildfire season.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department announced that it and other fire agencies in the county are declaring May 18 the start of high brush fire season.

It was a South Coast brush fire which forced thousands of evacuations last November. But, up until Monday, it wasn’t officially declared out. The Cave Fire started on November 25th, and burned more than 3100 acres of land in the mountains and foothills above Santa Barbara and Goleta.

It was a wildfire which caused a big scare in the mountains above Santa Barbara and Goleta, and forced thousands of evacuations.

Fortunately, the 3100 acre Cave Fire was stopped before it could burn homes.

But last November’s blaze wasn’t even out when the first of a series of storms came, triggering another issue: the threat of flash floods and debris flows.

(Photo by John Palminteri)

A storm moving throught the Central and South Coasts created some heavy rainfall Wednesday night, causing some localized street flooding.

The rainfall prompted a Flash Flood Warning from around 7:15 to 8:45 for the Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Carpinteria areas.  No evacuations were ordered, but people were cautioned to stay out of flood prone areas.

A cold storm is bringing rain, snow, and wind to the Central and South Coasts.

The heaviest rain could hit the South Coast, with one to two inches possible on the coast and inland between now and Friday morning.  Up to four inches is possible in the mountains.  At this point, the rainfall isn't predicted to be concentrated enough to cause significant problems in the region's brush fire burn zones.

Even though a pair of storms have passed through the Central and South Coasts since the Cave Fire started November 25th, the blaze is still not technically fully contained. The fire stands at 90% containment. Smoke from the fire hasn’t been visible for more than a week, and the focus has been on looking for smoldering underground hot spots.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

Santa Barbara County officials say parts of the county could face an increased risk of flooding and debris flows as a result of the recent Cave brush fire. The fire charred more than 3100 acres of land in the Santa Ynez Mountains, centered in the San Marcos Pass area above Santa Barbara and Goleta.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

Containment of Santa Barbara County's Cave brush fire has grown to 40% on Thanksgiving Day, as parts of the burn zone were blanketed by snow.

The snowfall occurred down to unusually low levels for Santa Barbara's front country.  The official number of acres burned by the blaze has actually dropped from more than 4300 to just over 3100, due to more detailed mapping.

Firefighters who were already getting the upper hand on Santa Barbara County's Cave brush fire got big help from the Thanksgiving Eve storm moving through the Central and South Coasts.

Containment went from 10% to 20%.  Santa Barbara County officials say the situation is good enough that they have cancelled all remaining mandatory evacuation orders for the 4300 acre blaze.

Rain gave firefighters a big boost Wednesday morning in their efforts to contain the 4300 acre Cave brush fire in Santa Barbara County.  San Marcos Pass received 1.1" of rain in the predawn areas, and by sunrise there was no large scale smoke visible from the 4300 acre blaze.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office issued a Debris Flow Evacuation Warning because of the storm moving through the Central and South Coasts.  It includes the area between Patterson Avenue and Ontare Road, between the 3300 and 3500 block of State Street down through Las Positas Road, and south of East Camino Cielo to the ocean. 

A brush fire that forced thousands of evacuations in Santa Barbara County has now burned more than 4200 acres of land, and is 0% contained.  

The Cave Fire started Tuesday afternoon near West Camino Cielo off of Highway 154 on San Marcos Pass.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

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.

Updated 9:50 : The Cave Fire has now burned more than 3000 acres of land.

A brush fire on the South Coast has officially burned 30 plus acres of land in the Santa Ynez Mountains, but we know it’s burned much more than that, and forced a number of evacuations. The Cave Fire started just after 4 p.m., in the East Camino Cielo area. It's in the rugged mountains off of Highway 154.