Central California wildfire swells to 4,500 acres at Vandenberg Air Force Base


A wildfire burning on the south side of Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, Calif., grew to 4,528 acres Monday despite an aggressive air and ground attack to stop flames from advancing.

Over the weekend, the Canyon fire forced officials to postpone the launch of an Atlas V rocket. The rocket was scheduled to take off Sunday and carry the WorldView-4, a commercial satellite that snaps high-resolution images of Earth, according to United Launch Alliance, the contractor hired to launch the satellite.

The fire has caused power outages at several buildings on the base, according to Air Force officials. Generators will provide power to the facilities until the downed power lines are repaired or replaced.


The Air Force has further restricted public access to the site as fire crews work feverishly to cut new fire lines and douse spot fires.

The wildfire broke out Saturday in a remote canyon at the southern end of the military base and quickly spread to nearly two square miles, according to Wayne Seda, the assistant chief of the Vandenberg Fire Department. The fire is spreading at a slow to moderate rate, officials said.

“It’s burning in some very tough vegetation,” Seda told reporters Sunday. “The fire grew rapidly. … It jumped roads at times and came out of the containment lines.”

Nearly 800 firefighters from state, federal and local agencies have been dispatched to battle the blaze, which is burning between Arguello and Santa Ynez Ridge roads.

Air Force officials said fire crews were making progress against the fire and have been able to map out its boundaries. The fire is 0% contained.


No injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Air Force officials said in a statement that Vandenberg Air Force Base firefighter and security forces “are assessing possible causes.”

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Sept. 19, 11:55 a.m.: This article was updated with more details about the fire.

Sept. 19, 8 a.m.: This article was updated with more details about the growth of the fire.

Sept. 18, 6:30 p.m.: This article was updated with more details about the growth of the fire.

This article was originally published Sept. 18 at 6:16 p.m.