A brush fire began sometime after 3:30 p.m. on Sunday along the Gaviota Coast, and roughly 20 acres have already burned close to where West Camino Cielo intersects with Refugio Road.

The blaze, which has been named the Circle Fire, is located a few miles east of the Reagan Ranch, and is currently being fought by 10 engines, two air tankers, two helicopters, and about 150 personnel, according Andrew Madsen, the Los Padres National Forest spokesperson. In addition to Forest Service staff —including a couple Hot Shot crews that are being called in — Vandenberg Air Force Base has contributed firefighters, and Santa Barbara County Fire is also expected to throw in some help soon.

“There’s not much wind, so it’s a slow to moderate rate of spread, but there’s a lot of dry fuels, so it’s burning pretty good,” said Madsen, who wasn’t sure if any structures were currently being threatened. “We’re responding with a full complement here….Our concern is the forecast this evening, which is calling for some wind. Right now they are working as hard as they can to get their arms around it before the winds pick up tonight.”

The Circle Fire comes less than 24 hours after a similarly aggressive team of engines and air tankers took on the Rock Front ranch fire, which started on Saturday near Highway 166 outside of Santa Maria but was fully contained by midnight.

UPDATE, 8:45 p.m.: According to Madsen, the Circle Fire has been held at 15 acres, and crews are currently mopping it up. “Line has been cut around the perimeter, the forward rate of spread has been stopped, and we’ll have two crews working overnight with two additional crews assigned to the fire tomorrow,” he explained in an email. At the fire’s peak, there were four air tankers, one helicopter, and 150-plus firefighters working on the blaze.


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