A Red Flag fire warning has been issued for the Santa Ynez Range and coastal south Santa Barbara areas due to expected conditions of extremely low humidity and gusty winds from Thursday night through Saturday morning, County Fire announced Thursday morning. The warning — issued for 8 p.m. Thursday, October 12 through 10 a.m. Saturday, October 14 — includes using extreme caution if operating flame- or spark-producing machinery, reporting smoke or suspicious activity to 9-1-1, and being prepared with evacuation route knowledge. Area fire companies have increased staffing and equipment availability for the warning period, County Fire spokesperson Mike Eliason said.
Late September’s Rucker Fire in Lompoc was caused by a car’s faulty catalytic converter, said fire officials, starting numerous separate fires along the road that combined to more than 400 acres.
Currently, 21 large fires are actively burning across California, notably the Tubbs and Atlas fires in Northern California’s wine country. The northern fires claimed 29 lives as of Thursday afternoon and consumed more than 120,000 acres. About 8,000 firefighters are engaged on California’s fires, with aid coming from nearby states and the Carolinas. A good 40-plus firefighters from multiple Santa Barbara fire districts have deployed to NorCal, according to City Fire Chief Pat McElroy, including two strike team leaders and roughly 10 engines. More than a dozen county crewmembers are at the fire in Anaheim, Eliason added.