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Helicopter Hits Electrical Wires, Starts Small Fire

A power line that was downed in the collision started a quarter-acre fire in Ellwood Canyon this morning.
Paul Wellman

Around 9 a.m. this morning, a crop-dusting helicopter clipped a high-tension electrical power line. The power line broke and arced, starting a quarter-acre fire; the helicopter had to make an emergency landing near 1100 Ellwood Canyon Road, said Captain David Zaniboni, public information officer for Santa Barbara County Fire.

The grass was green and still moist from yesterday’s light rain, Zaniboni said, and the fire did not spread beyond the initial quarter acre. Multiple firefighters responded to the threat, however, including three engine crews from the county and two each from the City of Santa Barbara and Los Padres National Forest. The pilot was not injured in the incident. 14 Southern California Edison customers lost power temporarily.

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