New Fire Erupts at Vandenberg

High Winds Fan North Base Fire, Prison on Lockdown

Reports are coming in from Lompoc residents that a second fire erupted on Vandenberg Air Force Base at around 2 p.m. An area of the north base, roughly 10 miles away from the Canyon Fire, which is burning on the southern portion of the base, is on fire and has caused the lockdown of Lompoc Federal Correctional Institution.

The city of Lompoc is being showered with smoke and ash, and visibility on the roads is said to be as poor as 20 feet. Wind speeds are high at both Vandenberg and Lompoc with gusts of up to 36 mph.

[UPDATE, 5:30 p.m.] According to Vandenberg’s website, the fire may have been caused by a downed powerline near Building 12000, the Communications Squadron building. This is near Washington Avenue, 13th Street, and Airfield Road. The base states there is no risk to people or base housing, but several buildings were evacuated. Personnel from the Canyon Fire are responding.

Strong north-northwest winds are driving the blaze to the south, County Fire’s Capt. Dave Zaniboni reported. The fire is about 100 acres in size but out of control due to the wind gusts of 30-40 mph. No structures are threatened on the base, he said, but engines are in place to protect those structures. Dozers, engines, hand crews, and aircraft have been pulled from the Canyon Fire to fight what is dubbed Washington Fire by the county.

More on this story as information comes in.

In related news, a Red Flag Warning has been called for the Santa Barbara County mountain areas and the south coast, zones CAZ252 and CAZ239 in the map below. The warning runs from Thursday, September 22, 3 p.m. through Friday, September 23, 6 a.m. High fire conditions of very low humidity, high winds with gusts of up to 55 mph, and high heat are expected for the duration. Lompoc, which is in zone CAZ235, was not included in the warning.

National Weather Service fire weather zone map

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