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Volunteer firefighters take on burning structure during Cave fire

Cave fire structure
John Palminteri
A small structure, possibly a utility building, burns on private property in the Cave fire zone off Old San Marcos Road. (John Palminteri/KEYT)

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The San Marcos Pass Volunteer Fire department raced to the scene of a small structure fire about 9:30 Monday night and took aggressive action to keep it from spreading. It was in the area of the rapidly spreading Cave fire that has burned 4100 acres in the front country.

NewsChannel 3 was on the scene when crews were spraying water on the burning structure on Old San Marcos Road. It appeared to be used for storage or possibly a water system.

A home nearby was protected from the flames burning both in the structure and the dry brush around it.

The cause of this fire is not known. It was significantly away from the main portion of the Cave fire but winds were strong and blowing embers were starting spot fires in many areas, some more than a half a mile away from the core.

The fire volunteers have trucks, hoses and safety equipment. They were being coordinated with the Wildland Residents Association, a well organized group that has been working on fire prevention and preparation for many years in coordination with local fire agencies.

The fire volunteers were supported with multiple night time water drops from a helicopter to douse the area where the fire was burning and the surrounding land.

The homeowners were not believed to be on the property at the time.

Firefighters were not only at the burning structure but also on the roadside looking for flames extending back into the canyons.

At a briefing Tuesday morning firefighters were told 10 airplanes and 9 helicopters were ordered to the fire scene along with about 600 firefighters.

The region is also expecting a dramatic weather shift with a cool front coming in that's packed with rain and snow. The Cave fire zone could get one to two inches of rain. Higher elevations could be recording more than three inches of rain in the next 72 hours.

That would possibly cause mudslides and debris flows in the recently burned areas along with the Thomas fire burn zone from December of 2017.

Article Topic Follows: Fire
Cave fire
San Marcos Pass
santa barbara county

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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