Battalion chief Mike Gallagher with the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District is urging residents to remain alert in a Summerland neighborhood as crews mop up after fire gutted a hillside home on Whitney Ave., above Valencia and Golden Gate Roads.
Law enforcement officers did not issue a formal evacuation order, but some people packed their cars anyway and left as the fire raged.
Flames from the fire, with winds gusts clocked at 67 mph, spread to a yard behind another home across the street, but they did not spread to another house, contrary to initial reports.
Local Firefighters said the the conditions reminded them of the devastating Tea Fire in Montecito in 2008, that destroyed more than 200 homes.
They said fire crews from other fire departments, including Santa Barbara, Montecito and Ventura, helped them save surrounding homes.
Crews expect it could take the better part of Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning to make sure ever ember is out.
Southern Cal Edison turned off the power and Pacific Gas and Electric turned off the gas to the burned-out home to make it safe for fire crews.
They said no one was home at the time of the fire. Firefighters said they spoke to the son of the owner of the home but they did not give the owner’s name.
The initial call went out after 7:00 p.m. as a power surge for a home on the same block.
A NewsChannel 3 crew en route said flames were visible from Highway 101, shooting up from the Summerland community.
Firefighters urged residents to be prepared to evacuate in case the winds shift.
NewsChannel 3 meteorologist Alan Rose says the winds gusts were in excess of 40 mph, out of the north, northeast.
The house fire was the third and largest blaze to break out Tuesday evening; the first sparked around 6:00 off Alamo Pintado Rd. in Solvang, the second broke out off Highway 154 near San Antonio Creek Rd.
Both were out within minutes and possibly linked to downed power lines and gusty winds.