Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Santa Barbara Wildfire Burns 3,000 Acres in Five Hours, Forces 6,300 to Flee

Climate
The Cave Fire ignited shortly after 4 p.m. near Highway 154 and grew to at least 3,122 acres by 9 p.m. Santa Barbara County Fire Info

The county of Santa Barbara, California proclaimed a local emergency after a wildfire spread more than 3,000 acres in five hours Monday night.


The so-called Cave Fire ignited shortly after 4 p.m. near Highway 154 and grew to at least 3,122 acres by 9 p.m., the Los Angeles Times reported. It is zero percent contained, threatens 2,400 structures and has forced 6,300 people to evacuate, according to the KEYT News Team.

"The Cave Fire is causing conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property within the County of Santa Barbara," the emergency proclamation said.

The evacuation order covered a five-mile-wide stretch of land, according to the Los Angeles Times. The fire became more dangerous as it moved downhill, driven by canyon winds of 15 miles per hour and 30 mile-per-hour gusts.

"As this fire gets pushed down canyon, it's going to start getting closer to homes," Santa Barbara County Fire (SBCF) Department public information officer Mike Eliason told the Los Angeles Times.

Santa Barbara also requested that California Gov. Gavin Newsom declare a State of Emergency. The county received fire-fighting support from nearby Ventura County, which said it was sending two strike teams of engines, and from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which battled the flames from a Firehawk water-dropping helicopter, NBC 7 San Diego reported. As of 9:25 p.m., more than 500 firefighters were combating the blaze, according to KSBY News.

SBCF Capt. Daniel Bertucelli told the Los Angeles Times that he did not yet know if any homes had been destroyed.

"We're going to fight fire throughout the night, and tomorrow when the sun comes up, we'll get a better understanding of what sort of damage we have," he said.

It is possible that one structure on Old San Marcos Road caught fire, according to KEYT.

The fire comes almost 30 years after the destructive Painted Cave Fire burned 5,000 acres in the same mountains, NBC 7 San Diego reported, taking one life and damaging 427 homes. The old brush in the area had not burned since then, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Wildfire risk in California has increased because of the climate crisis: 15 of the state's 20 largest fires post-1930 have occurred since 2000, as temperatures rise and snow melts earlier in the Western U.S., leading to dryer conditions.

"What we're seeing in California right now is more destructive, larger fires burning at rates that we have historically never seen," Assistant Chief with San Mateo County Fire Department Jonathan Cox said, according to a climate change fact sheet prepared by the Event Lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Anderson Community Group. Left to right, Caroline Laur, Anita Foust, the Rev. Bryon Shoffner, and Bill Compton, came together to fight for environmental justice in their community. Anderson Community Group

By Isabella Garcia

On Thanksgiving Day 2019, right after Caroline Laur had finished giving thanks for her home, a neighbor at church told her that a company had submitted permit requests to build an asphalt plant in their community. The plans indicated the plant would be 250 feet from Laur's backdoor.

Read More Show Less
Berber woman cooks traditional flatbread using an earthen oven in her mud-walled village home located near the historic village of Ait Benhaddou in Morocco, Africa on Jan. 4, 2016. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. /NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg and Jason Flatt

The world's Indigenous Peoples face severe and disproportionate rates of food insecurity. While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5 percent of the world's population, they account for 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More Show Less
Danny Choo / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Olivia Sullivan

One of the many unfortunate outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been the quick and obvious increase in single-use plastic products. After COVID-19 arrived in the United States, many grocery stores prohibited customers from using reusable bags, coffee shops banned reusable mugs, and takeout food with plastic forks and knives became the new normal.

Read More Show Less
A mostly empty 110 freeway toward downtown Los Angeles, California on April 28, 2020. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The shelter in place orders that brought clean skies to some of the world's most polluted cities and saw greenhouse gas emissions plummet were just a temporary relief that provided an illusory benefit to the long-term consequences of the climate crisis. According to new research, the COVID-19 lockdowns will have a "neglible" impact on global warming, as Newshub in New Zealand reported.

Read More Show Less
Centrosaurus apertus was a plant-eating, single-horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Sergey Krasovskiy / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Scientists have discovered and diagnosed the first instance of malignant cancer in a dinosaur, and they did so by using modern medical techniques. They published their results earlier this week in The Lancet Oncology.

Read More Show Less
Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. NPS

By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less