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Miguelito fire in Santa Barbara County now 600 acres, 50% contained

#MiguelitoFire now 50% contained, size revised down from 700 to 600 acres
Cause of #MiguelitoFire remains under investigation as firefighters gain upper hand.

Firefighters on Wednesday revised the size of the Miguelito fire in Santa Barbara County down to 600 acres while announcing that overnight efforts had increased containment to 50%.

All evacuation orders had also been lifted as calmer winds allowed firefighters to gain the upper hand on the blaze.

Mandatory evacuations had affected 1,200 homes and businesses near Lompoc as the wind-driven brush fire swelled in size to what had initially been estimated at 700 acres as of Tuesday evening.

Homes in the San Miguelito Canyon area had been briefly threatened by the flames as they advanced rapidly toward Lompoc, Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. David Sadecki told The Times.

Strike teams and helicopters were used to battle the blaze, which was reported about 1:30 p.m., in 15 mph winds Tuesday. County firefighters ordered eight air tankers for additional support.

In an update posted Wednesday, Sadecki said winds of similar strength were expected to pick up about 2 p.m. There were 550 firefighters assigned to the blaze.

No injuries had been reported as authorities continued to investigate the cause of the fire.

Temperatures for the greater Santa Barbara area, meanwhile, were expected to be in the lower- to mid-90s, according to the National Weather Service.

The Southland has been in the grip of a stifling heat wave that, combined with tinder-dry vegetation and blustery Santa Ana winds, has put fire agencies on high alert as they beef up their staffing and resources.

Red flag warnings and heat advisories from Ventura to San Diego counties have been in place for much of the week, and the U.S. Forest Service said it has assigned 24-hour staffing for crews on more than two dozen fire engine and lightweight brush patrol vehicles across the Angeles National Forest.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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