View of ash clouds from County Courthouse on Saturday afternoon.

Paul Wellman

View of ash clouds from County Courthouse on Saturday afternoon.

Sedgwick Fire 50 Percent Contained

Others Blazes Rage Elsewhere Throughout California

A fire in the Sedgwick Ranch area near Los Olivos is 50 percent contained, fire officials said, but an evacuation warning is still in effect for residents in the Sedgwick Ranch and Woodstock areas, at least until 6 p.m. today. If conditions continue to be stable, the warning may be lifted.

Depending on the weather, full containment is expected in the next 24 to 48 hours. More than 250 firefighters were at the scene as of Monday morning, a number which should roughly double through the course of the day. Crews are mopping and reinforcing the existing fire lines while the size of the fire as of Sunday night has grown to roughly 710 acres.

By Paul Wellman

View of ash clouds from County Courthouse on Saturday afternoon.

The warning area spans from Figueroa Mountain Road to Roblar and Brinkerhoff avenues. Santa Barbara County Fire officials have pinned the cause of the fire on a downed power line in the area.

Highway 154 travelers should be aware of firefighting vehicles traveling in the area. There is still a Red Flag Alert in effect for the entire county until tomorrow. Citizens are cautioned to be extremely careful not to start or worsen fires, as conditions for wildfires are currently optimal. “Any activity in brush areas or areas with vegetation should be done using extreme caution,” Capt. Eli Iskow said in a statement issued Sunday.

By Paul Wellman

View of ash clouds from County Courthouse on Saturday afternoon.

The fire is one of several burning throughout Southern California. Sunday night, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed a State of Emergency in several counties, including Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. More than 11 fires have sprung up as far south as San Diego County, as well as in Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. More than 30,000 acres and several structures have burned, and one person in San Diego County has died as a result of the blazes.

Strong Santa Ana winds, the result of high pressure over Utah mixed with the lower pressures over the Pacific Oceans and teamed with warm temperatures, according to AccuWeather, have made Southern California extremely susceptible to fires. Wind gusts have been clocked at more than 100 miles per hour - past hurricane strength levels - in some places. Meanwhile, the County Public Health Department, along with the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, has issued a precautionary advisory for Santa Barbara County. Residents should minimize time outdoors and avoid heavy exertion if they can smell smoke from the Sedgwick Fire or other fires in Southern California that continue to burn Monday.

The Independent‘s associate production manager Sarah Wilkinson was driving near Fullerton and snapped some photos of the Southern California fires.

Sarah Wilkinson

Sarah Wilkinson

Sarah Wilkinson

Sarah Wilkinson

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