Smoldering remains of Cave Fire | Credit: Mike Eliason/S.B. Co. Fire

The random smokes left over from the Cave Fire were tweeted via the camera of Mike Eliason of Santa Barbara County Fire as press officer Capt. Dan Bertucelli assured Santa Barbarans that 300 firefighters remained on the fire. They had traversed steep ravines and hills to raise the fire’s containment line to 70 percent, and were on hand should any flare-up occur from the smoking remains of the fire, now estimated at 3,126 acres with updated mapping.

Since Tuesday, about two inches of rain at San Marcos Pass have quelled the raging flames that broke out on Monday. Dropping temperatures dotted the pass with snow early Thursday morning.

San Marcos Pass itself is closed to through travelers as Caltrans assesses damage to State Route 154’s guardrails and drainage from the fire. Granite Construction of Santa Barbara is contracted to fix the road in a $1.3 million emergency project.

The highway is closed at the south end at Foothill/Cathedral Oaks and at its northern side at the roundabout at State Route 246. Residents with identification will be allowed to pass as far as San Antonio Creek Road, and those with identification and “CHP verification” will be allowed as far as Cold Spring Tavern and Camino Cielo. People with reservations for Lake Cachuma will also be allowed through.

All others must use Highway 101 to get between Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez.

Caltrans expressed uncertainty on when the 154 would reopen.


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