A man cutting a chain with a grinder sparked a small woodchip fire in a workshop to the back of a house on Robbins Street on Tuesday morning. Engine companies from four city firehouses responded as black smoke poured out the door, and they quickly extinguished the fire using hose lines, said Battalion Chief Chris Mailes.
Fourteen firefighters were on scene within minutes, Mailes said, an aggressive response in light of the unseasonably warm, dry weather and the presence of Harding Elementary School’s cafeteria behind the workshop.
“It’s concerning to have 98-degree temperatures in downtown Santa Barbara on June 9,” he said, instead of the usual June gloom. The lack of fog was leading to warmer and drier nights, which was causing the grasses to cure more quickly, Mailes added, noting a 10-acre fire currently burning near Santa Paula in Ventura County to the south.