Fire Breaks Out near Las Cruces

Crews work the western edge of the Cruces fire with the help of air tankers and water dropping helicopters fro the Santa Barbara County air support unit.

[Update: July 18, 2018, 2 p.m.] The Cruces Fire has grown to 150 acres, with containment difficult along its northern edge. Capt. Dave Zaniboni of County Fire stated it has the potential to grow much larger. Two ranches on the 7200 block of Highway 1 have been evacuated.

The four tankers and two helicopters on the fire are joined by four dozers, three crews, about 150 firefighters and nine engines, with five more engines en route. The winds at Lompoc are out of the north, blowing about 7 mph.

The side of the fire along State Route 1 is “looking in good shape,” Zaniboni said. The cause of the fire, which broke out at 11:56 a.m., is being investigated.

[Original Story] Burning at a “rapid rate of spread” in medium to heavy vegetation, a fire has erupted near Las Cruces, three to four miles up State Route 1 from Highway 101 southbound at the Lompoc exit. Captain David Zaniboni, spokesperson for Santa Barbara County Fire, reported that two helicopters are dropping water on scene, and that four air tankers have been called in from Paso Robles. A second alarm has been called for what is being called the Cruces Incident.

Heavy smoke is blanketing State Route 1, and reports indicate the 1 has been closed in places. Two to three acres have burned so far, said Zaniboni. Winds are currently out of the west northwest at nearby Gaviota, blowing 2 mph and gusting to 7 mph, according to weather websites.

This report will be updated as information becomes available.

Correction: The correct start time on the fire is 11:56 a.m., not 11:45 a.m.

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