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US Forest Service firefighters signal for more water as they battle the Rice Fire (June 20, 2013)

Daniel Dreifuss/Santa Maria Times

US Forest Service firefighters signal for more water as they battle the Rice Fire (June 20, 2013)


Crews Gain Upper Hand on Rice Fire

Orcutt Blaze Contained to 36 Acres


[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.

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