320-acre Mesa fire in Santa Barbara County is 75% contained; evacuations lifted

Firefighters in Santa Barbara County were making quick work Tuesday of a fast-moving blaze that just a day earlier threatened 1,200 residents’ homes and a 200-year-old Spanish mission.

The Mesa fire burning near Lompoc has scorched 320 acres and was 75% contained Tuesday morning, tweeted county fire department spokesman Dave Zaniboni.

The blaze started just after 1 p.m. off Burton Mesa Boulevard and surged toward Cebada Canyon.

The area is blanketed in dry vegetation, which put it at high risk for a fast-moving fire. Deputies ordered 1,200 residents in Cebada Canyon, Gypsy Canyon and Tularosa Road to leave immediately, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said. Those evacuations were lifted by Tuesday morning.

While firefighters surround the fire, authorities are asking for the public’s help in finding two juveniles who were seen near the blaze about the time it started, Zaniboni said. The fire’s cause has yet to be determined, he added.

For a short time, the fire had threatened the La Purisima Mission. Founded in 1787, the mission once covered 470 square miles and was home to Chumash and Spanish settlers. More than 200,000 people visit the mission every year.

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8:20 a.m.: This story has been updated with the fire being 75% contained.

This story was first published at 6:52 a.m.

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