The Plant Fire near New Cuyama on August 20, 2023 | Credit: Scott Safechuck / Santa Barbara County Fire Department
A funnel cloud spotted above the Plant Fire on Monday, August 21, 2023 | Credit: Scott Safechuck/S.B. County Fire Dept.

The nearly 5,500-acre Plant Fire near New Cuyama has been fully contained as of Tuesday night, according to Cal Fire.

The Plant Fire was one of two wildfires to break out on Saturday in northern Santa Barbara County. The Hapgood Fire near Buellton was the first to catch County Fire’s attention, consuming about an acre and nearly contained before the call came for the larger fire burning across State Route 166. Driven by erratic winds from the approaching Tropical Storm Hilary, the Plant Fire grew from 300 to 5,464 acres in a matter of hours.

The fire shut down the 166 overnight and prompted evacuation orders, which were lifted Sunday afternoon.

On Monday, County Fire spokesperson Scott Safechuck shared images over social media of a funnel cloud spotted hovering over the Plant Fire like an exclamation mark at the end of a weird weekend that, in addition to the large wildfire, was also punctuated by Southern California’s first tropical storm in more than 80 years and Sunday’s magnitude-5.1 earthquake in Ojai, which was felt from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles and has been followed by dozens of aftershocks.

According to Cal Fire’s incident page, the Plant Fire was 100 percent contained as of 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday. About 636 personnel were assigned to ground crews, 19 hand crews, and 58 engine crews.


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