An Erickson MD-87 Air Tanker worked the Windmill Fire above Bobcat Springs Road in Buellton.

Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire

Hard on the heels of the Cruces Fire, another has broken out in the Lompoc area, this time to the west of Buellton, on the 1000 block of Highway 246. The Windmill incident was called in around 2:15 p.m. on Friday and is burning in a mostly grassy area, pushed by light winds out of the west, County Fire spokesperson Captain David Zaniboni said. It is spreading rapidly, and an evacuation warning has been issued for the Bobcat Springs community. Two helicopters and two air tankers are on scene, and the fire is on second-alarm status.

[Update: July 20, 2018, 4:30 p.m.] The incident commanders report the fire has spread to 100 acres but is 20 percent contained. Two more air tankers have joined the firefight, as well as three dozers, and four engine companies are en route from county resources, Zaniboni said in an update. Though the fire spread rapidly in the grass and light sprinkling of oak trees, no structures are threatened currently. The cause is unknown.

[Update: July 23, 2018, 10 a.m.] Roughly an hour after the Windmill Fire started on Friday, the evacuation warning for Bobcat Springs ended, and the area was open only to residents. The fire proved stubborn to surround entirely, but firefighters made steady progress through the weekend. By late Saturday afternoon, the 75 firefighters on Windmill had drawn a line around 80 percent of the 110-acre fire. Full containment was estimated by Monday morning.

[Update: July 23, 2018, 3:30 p.m.] Santa Barbara County Fire has stated the Windmill Fire was “caused by a tractor operating in an agricultural field causing the nearby vegetation to catch fire.” No further description was given. Windmill was declared completely contained today.


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