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Cave Fire burns 3,126 acres, now 40% contained

Firefighters are making progress on the Cave Fire burning in the hills above Santa Barbara.

As of 6:43 p.m. Wednesday, The Cave Fire had burned 3,126 acres and was 40% contained, according to Cal Fire.

Wednesday morning, officials had said the acreage expanded to 4,330 acres burned and containment was at 20 percent. Those numbers changed later in the day. Neighboring fire departments that sent crews to assist are now being sent home.

At 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, the Cave Fire in the mountains had burned 4,262 acres with 0 percent containment.

No structures were destroyed overnight but hundreds of structures, including homes and businesses, are considered threatened. Evacuations are still in order. According to Santa Barbara County Fire, 4,000 people are affected by evacuations and 5,484 people have evacuated.

No injuries have been reported.

Highway 154 remains closed until further notice.

Winds are expected to pick up Tuesday morning, but could begin to ease around 11 a.m.

A joint press conference with the latest figures and updates on the fire fight will be held at 11 a.m. at the Earl Warren Showgrounds. We will broadcast the press conference both on air and online.

The fire broke out in the mountains above Santa Barbara Monday afternoon.

Driven by strong winds late Monday evening, the fire exploded to over 3,000 acres within hours.

The "Cave Fire" was first reported along Highway 154 and East Camino Cielo at around 4:15 p.m.

Smoke and flames were visible from the City of Santa Barbara.

As firefighters battled the flames and windy conditions, a second spot fire sparked up near Via Chapparal at around 6:30 p.m. The community between Santa Barbara and Goleta, commonly known as Noleta, saw large plumes of smoke and flames.

Multiple engines and hand crews were called to respond in addition to a fire helicopter, which is standard response for vegetation fires. A "Firehawk" firefighting helicopter from the Los Angeles County Fire Department was called to assist with the firefighting effort.

Strike teams from Ventura, San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles Counties were called in to assist Santa Barbara County and Los Padres fire departments.

Emergency alerts were sent out to mobile devices throughout the evening and reverse 911 calls were issued to residents in the area of the flames.

At 5:10 p.m. the Cave Fire had burned about 15 acres. By 7:45 p.m., the fire had burned 2,500 acres and later jumped to 2,800 acres. By 10 p.m., the fire's acreage was updated to 3,300.

An outbuilding along Old San Marcos Road caught fire Monday evening. It was the only structure to catch fire, with no homes destroyed. Firefighters say the priority is structure protection.


Evacuations were ordered for the area between East Camino Cielo and Highway 192 between Ontare Road to Patterson Avenue.

An evacuation warning is in place from Ontare Road to Gibraltar Road north of Highway 192/Foothill Road.

Another evacuation warning is in place from Highway 154 to El Sueno Road between Cathedral Oaks and Calle Real.

At noon on Tuesday, the evacuation order was lifted for the following area:
Areas west of Patterson Avenue to Fairview Avenue, north of Cathedral Oaks/Highway 192.

A map of voluntary and mandatory evacuations can be found on

The Red Cross has established an evacuation center at the Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave. in Goleta.

Small animals can be evacuated to Santa Barbara County Animal Services at 5473 Overpass Road. Call the County Animal Services hotline at 805-681-4332 with questions.

Large animals can be taken to the Earl Warren Showgrounds. Earl Warren is currently holding 250 animals, mostly horses, according to officials with the site.

Concerned residents in Santa Barbara County should register for emergency alerts for the latest evacuation information.

Road Closures

Highway 154 is closed between Highway 192 and Highway 246. Drivers are advised to avoid the area.

A hard closure on East Camino Cielo at Gibraltar Road is being planned for Monday evening.

Traffic control devices are in place at Turnpike and Cathedral Oaks. Old San Marcos Road is closed.

For the latest traffic conditions, visit the Traffic page on our website.

Power Outages

At 11:30 p.m., about 1,500 people in Santa Barbara County were without power, according to the Southern California Edison website.

The outages affected areas between Carpinteria and Goleta. Edison has not said when power will be fully restored. The exact cause of the outages is not yet known.

As of 1:30 a.m., less than 1,000 people in Santa Barbara County were still without power.


In anticipation of rain, which is forecasted to arrive in Santa Barbara Tuesday evening, sandbags are available at the Montecito Fire Department.

Other sandbag locations include:

  • Santa Barbara County Flood Control - 4568 County Road
  • Fire Station 11 - 6901 Frey Way
  • Fire Station 14 - 320 North Los Carneros Road
  • Goleta Valley Community Center - 5679 Hollister Avenue

Sand is also available at Lower Manning Park in Montecito.

Air Quality

The Air Quality Index in Santa Barbara dropped to unhealthy levels Tuesday morning, according to

Sensitive groups including children and the elderly should avoid exposure to unhealthy air conditions.

Direct Relief in Goleta is distributing N95 masks for free at the organization's headquarters at 6100 Wallace Becknell Rd.

Masks can also be obtained at the following locations:

  • Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, 5580 Calle Real
  • Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics IV, 970 Embarcadero del Mar
  • Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E Anapamu St.
  • Unity Shoppe, 1209 State St. & 1401 Chapala St.
  • La Casa Del la Raza, 601 E Montecito St.
  • City Of Goleta, 130 Cremona Dr.
  • Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave
  • Goleta Valley Library, 500 N Fairview Ave
  • Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave.

Santa Barbara County Proclaims Local Emergency

At 10:30 p.m. on Monday, Santa Barbara County proclaimed a local emergency.

Proclaiming a local emergency is an essential step for local governments dealing with significant incidents.

It ensures that all county resources are available for the fire control efforts and supporting activities.

Having the proclamation in place helps facilitate potential state funding and a potential Proclamation of a State of Emergency by Governor Newsom.

On Tuesday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized the use of federal funds to assist with combatting the Cave Fire.

Santa Barbara - South County
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NewsChannel 3-12

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Travis Schlepp

Travis Schlepp is the Digital Content Director for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Travis, click here.

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