300-acre wildfire in Lompoc threatens historic mission; evacuations ordered

About 1,200 residents were ordered to evacuate Monday as a fast-moving 300-acre fire in Lompoc moved dangerously close to homes and a Spanish mission, officials said. As of 6 p.m., the fire was 55% contained.

The wildfire started just after 1 p.m. off Burton Mesa Boulevard and was surging toward Cebada Canyon, said Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Because of dry vegetation the area was at high risk, so deputies ordered approximately 1,200 residents in Cebada Canyon, Gypsy Canyon and Tularosa Road to immediately evacuate, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said. Residents in the Mission Hills area were told to prepare to evacuate.

Workers told KSBY-TV that La Purisima Mission was also ordered to evacuate.

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.

A strike team was positioned at the mission ready to protect it from flames, Zaniboni said.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection was responding to the blaze to provide assistance.

According to the National Weather Service, winds could reach 15 mph in Lompoc.

The winds, however, are proving to be less of factor in the fire. Dry, dense brush, including oak trees and chaparral, was fanning the fire, Zaniboni said.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

6:20 p.m.: This story has been updated with the fire's growth to 300 acres.

5:11 p.m.: This story has been updated with evacuation warnings for Mission Road.

3:52 p.m.: This story has been updated with evacuation details.

This story was originally published at 2:30 p.m.

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