From Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. through Thursday morning at 9 a.m., high temperatures, wind, and low humidity will combine for sundowners gusting up to 35 mph. The National Weather Service has declared a Red Flag Warning for Santa Barbara County coastal and mountain areas. Residents should use extreme caution if operating any flame or spark-producing equipment, report signs of smoke to 9-1-1 immediately, and have an evacuation plan in mind. Readiness information can be found here.

The 6.5-acre fire in Los Alamos on September 26 was small, but the implications of the cause are anything but. With some areas of Santa Barbara County hitting 90 degrees last night, human-caused fire is a continuing concern.

The Alamos Fire was sparked by someone mowing dry vegetation and brush using a tractor mower, the County Fire Department reported today. Two weeks before, a fire in Miguelito Canyon was caused by target shooting.

County Fire reminds of the safer means to mow a pasture:
•  Use a weed trimmer with nylon string, never a mower with metal blades in dry vegetation.
•  Mow before 10 a.m., and never mow during critical weather conditions.
•  Make sure your equipment has an approved spark arrestor.
•  Keep a water extinguisher and round-tip shovel handy.
•  Carry a cell phone to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency.

Santa Barbara County’s history is thick with ordinary things that caused enormous fires, such as a kite, a hot catalytic converter, a fireplace log, and a metal-bladed weed whacker.

The Alamos Fire headed uphill that Saturday, and the SkyView Motel had to be evacuated before a full contingent of firefighters, dozer, and helicopter contained it. The person who started the blaze was cited for operating a mower in dry grasses and sending the fire across land they didn’t own.


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