[UPDATE]: The Rice Fire is now fully contained. Officials have reduced the estimated number of acres affected to 36, and evacuation orders have been lifted. The fast-moving blaze was caused by unpermitted welding work in the area, a County Fire spokesperson said.
[ORIGINAL REPORT]: Firefighters appear to have a handle on the Rice Fire, a 75-acre blaze that began at around 2 p.m. east of Rice Ranch Road in Orcutt near Santa Maria. As of 4 p.m., the fire is 50 percent contained with full containment expected by 5 p.m. Forward progress has been stopped with retardant drops. County Fire units had requested the support of helicopters, air tankers, hand crews, and water tenders.
Approximately 200 homes in the area — along Sage Crest, Stubblefied, Rice Ranch, and Mesa Verde roads — have been evacuated, but it doesn’t appear any structures have been burned. There are currently no injuries reported.