close
close

Fire brigade warns: Weather could spread fire at the lake to residential buildings | Local news

Fire brigade warns: Weather could spread fire at the lake to residential buildings | Local news

Due to high temperatures and low humidity overnight, the lake fire has expanded to 26,178 acres, with only 12 percent of the wildfire under control, fire officials said in a report to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning.

Weather conditions are expected to worsen Tuesday evening, potentially endangering homes in the Brinkerhoff Avenue, Woodstock Road and Happy Canyon areas of the Santa Ynez Valley, which have been under an evacuation warning since Tuesday morning, fire officials said.

An evacuation order was issued Tuesday afternoon for all residents in the Woodstock and Goat Rock areas, including the SB Ranger area east of Goat Rock, requiring residents to leave the areas immediately.

County Fire Chief Anthony Stornetta said 2,485 people were battling the fire as of Tuesday morning and that about 200 more could be added throughout the afternoon due to requests for assistance.

Stornetta said 70 emergency personnel, 190 fire trucks and 11 helicopters are battling the fire, which broke out near Zaca Lake around 3 p.m. Friday and is now spreading mostly eastward into the Los Padres National Forest and wilderness areas.

He noted that helicopters flew in the darkness Monday night to drop water as firefighters struggled to protect high-end homes in the Brinkerhoff and Happy Canyon areas, while the air temperature at 11 p.m. was 30 degrees and relative humidity was just 6%.

Cal Fire may deploy additional helicopters on Tuesday, he said.

The closure area generally runs along Foxen Canyon Road but is not completely safe, Stornetta said, so roads leading into the area remain heavily closed, although one of the priorities is to reopen access to the wineries there.

“I know there’s a lot of concern about some of the businesses there, and that’s one of our priorities,” Stornetta said. “We want people to come back there, and we also want those wineries to reopen.”

An outbuilding was damaged, but no buildings had been destroyed as of Tuesday morning, he said.

However, Stornetta warned that strong northwest winds are forecast for Tuesday night, which could drive the flames toward the Brinkerhoff, Woodstock and Happy Canyon areas.

Cal Fire’s Todd Hopkins advised residents in areas under evacuation warnings to be prepared to leave at any time by gathering and preparing important papers, pets and supplies, medications and other necessities.

“We also say that during an evacuation warning it is a good time to leave the area,” Hopkins said.

Stornetta said when a warning is upgraded to an evacuation order, sheriff’s deputies and search and rescue team members will go door to door to give residents enough warning to evacuate.