[UPDATE July 23, 2018 – 2:51 p.m.] Investigators with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department say the Windmill Fire in the Buellton area was caused by a tractor operating in an agricultural field causing the nearby brush to catch on fire.
The fire department reminds residents that it’s their responsibility to maintain their vehicles and farm equipment in proper condition to help prevent wildfires.
[UPDATE July 21, 2018 – 5:00 p.m.] Fire officials say the Windmill Fire is at 80% containment with full containment expected for 8 a.m. Monday.
[UPDATE July 21, 2018 – 8:00 a.m.] Fire officials say the Windmill Fire has burned about 110 acres and is 40% contained as of Saturday morning with full containment expected by 8 a.m. on Sunday.
Dave Zaniboni with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department says 75 firefighters will remain on scene.
[UPDATE July 20, 2018 – 10:00 p.m.] Thick plumes of smoke could be seen across the Santa Ynez Valley as the Windmill Fire erupted Friday Afternoon.
As of Friday evening, the Windmill Fire has scorched 110 acres and is 35% contained.
A vegetation fire was first reported along Bobcat Springs Road around 2:15 p.m. and firefighters acted quickly, stopping forward progression of the blaze within 2.5 hours.
“We recognize the possibility and it was a rapid moving fire and we just wanted to get ahead of it. Firefighters did an amazing job,” said Captain Dave Zaniboni, Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Burning in grass and light oaks with wind pushing the flames from the west, firefighters attacked the Windmill Fire from the ground and air.
“We alot of firefighters, lot of engine companies, we had three dozers right away, a couple of hand crews. We pulled some equipment and some crews off of the other fire, over off of Highway 1, the Cruces Fire and the aircraft. We had four air tankers working this fire right away,” said Capt. Zaniboni.
An evacuation warning was briefly issued for folks in the Bobcat Springs community. The warning was lifted just before 6:00 p.m.
“What we’re telling people is to get ready to leave because that could change to a mandatory evacuation,” said Capt. Zaniboni.
As fire season roars on and the region braces for another looming heat wave, officials stress the importance of being prepared.
“It gives people a little bit of a heads up, gives them a warning, get their pets their affairs whatever they need to get packed in their car and if it does turn to mandatory they’ll be ready to leave,” said Capt. Zaniboni.
Firefighters remained on scene through the night to keep an eye on any flare ups.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
[UPDATE July 20, 2018 – 5:00 p.m.] Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Dave Zaniboni said forward progress of the fire has stopped.
Firefighters worked fast to keep this fire at 110 acres. Captain Zaniboni said there are 150 firefighters on scene.
Fire crews will work through the night to ensure there are no fire flare ups. The fire is still 20% contained and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
[UPDATE July 20, 2018 – 3:51 p.m.] The Windmill Fire is now 100 acres as of 3:52 p.m. The fire is 20 percent contained, according to Santa Barbara County Fire officials.
[UPDATE July 20, 2018 – 3:30 p.m.] The Windmill Fire is now 50 acres as of 3:30 p.m. The fire is burning in mostly grass and light oak, officials say.
Evacuation warning and advisory issued is only for the Bobcat Springs community at this time.
The Windmill Fire is burning in an easterly direction with a west wind pushing it, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
At least two tankers and two helicopters are on scene fighting this fire by air.
A fire burning in Buellton Friday afternoon has caused officials to issue an evacuation warning for the Bobcat Springs area.
Officials are calling this the Windmill Fire and was first reported at 2:15 p.m. Friday, July 20.
The fire is headed northeast towards Bobcat Springs Road where there is a community, according to CHP.
About thirty acres have burned so far.
We have a crew en route and will have more information shortly.