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Fire Breaks Out at El Capitan

Brush fire at El Capitan reported amid high winds. | Credit: S.B. County Fire

[Update: Oct. 23] By Tuesday, the Real Fire was 100 percent controlled after full containment on Monday, County Fire spokesperson Mike Eliason reported. The final acreage total, after the smoke had cleared, was 420 acres burned. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

[Update: Oct. 17, 10 p.m.] Evacuations have been lifted for all areas west of Dos Pueblos Canyon with the exception of El Capitan Canyon. The 101 Highway is open.

The fire is currently estimated to be at 443 acres and 20 percent containment, including some burnover on parts of areas charred by the Sherpa Fire. Various agencies have 250 firefighters on the scene, with 200 more scheduled for the day shift Friday.

[Update: Oct. 17, 7:50 p.m.] With a warning to be cautious of firefighters and equipment in the area, County Fire announced that one lane of both the north- and south-bound 101 have reopened as of about 7:25 p.m. Union Pacific has also resumed train traffic. The fire remains at about 50 acres and zero containment thus far. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

[Update: Oct. 17, 6 p.m.] What has been named the Real Fire is estimated at 50 acres and is burning to the east of El Capitan Canyon. Highway 101 was closed by CHP in both directions by around 6 p.m., and Amtrak and Union Pacific freight trains are not running through the area, reported County Fire spokesperson Mike Eliason.

Fire resources from around the county, including Los Padres Forest Service, are being brought to bear, said Capt. Bertucelli, including dozers and hand crews on structure defense, and aircraft have been ordered for this late afternoon/early evening fire. The State Beach is expected to be affected soon and has been evacuated by California Highway Patrol and County Sheriff’s officers.

[Original Story] Emergency vehicles raced to El Capitan State Beach, where a fire broke about at about 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. Winds are gusting above 30mph out of the north-northwest in the area. County Fire Capt. Daniel Bertucelli warned it would impact the 101 soon.

County emergency managers have sent evacuation notices to the area between Dos Pueblos Canyon and Gaviota.

This story will be updated as information becomes available.

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