Wildfire in Santa Barbara County now 80% contained, officials say

A wildfire in Santa Barbara County is now 80% contained, the U.S. Forest Service said Wednesday.

The White fire has been burning in the Los Padres National Forest since Monday afternoon and has burned more than 1,800 acres. Forest Service officials on Wednesday revised downward the total acreage burned.

With firefighters gaining the upper hand, residents in the area have been allowed to return to their homes, though many campground and road closures are in effect. Crews are focusing their efforts on extinguishing small hot spots and keeping the blaze’s northeastern face from advancing.


The rugged terrain in the area is making it difficult for firefighters to reach some of the fire’s edges, according to a morning update from the Forest Service.

Firefighters were expected to endure climbing temperatures and high winds Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

A high-wind advisory is in effect for much of Southern California’s mountains, including the Los Padres National Forest.

Temperatures are forecast to climb into the low 80s with wind gusts up to 50 mph.

On Tuesday, wind gusts up to 40 mph forced authorities to temporarily ground fixed-winged aircraft that had been making repeated fire-retardant drops, said Forest Service spokeswoman Paula Martinez.

She said water-dropping helicopters continued to battle the blaze while the tanker planes were grounded.

“The helicopters did a tremendous job today, as well as the firefighters who were assigned to various areas on the lines,” Martinez said. “The lines were truly tested, but so far they are holding.” More than 600 firefighters from several jurisdictions are fighting the blaze.

Flames as high as 30 feet were fanned by the powerful winds, and the fire destroyed one structure and damaged a vehicle and another structure, the Forest Service said.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.

Crews also battled the Olive fire Tuesday, which scorched 170 acres before it was contained at 8 p.m. Capt. David Sadecki of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department tweeted Wednesday that the blaze was caused by two power lines touching each other.

In Los Angeles County, firefighters stopped a brush fire that burned 149 acres Tuesday afternoon near Valencia.


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