Crews contained a small vegetation fire Monday on the hillside near Butterfly Beach, and officials believe it was caused by a warming fire on the beach.
The Montecito Fire Protection District received a call around 11:25 a.m. Monday of a small fire near the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara on Channel Drive, according to communications coordinator Jackie Jenkins.
A Montecito Fire investigator responded to the scene around 1 p.m. and determined the cause was a warming fire started on the beach near a homeless encampment, Jenkins said.
Witnesses identified an individual they saw leave the area shortly after the fire started, and that person was arrested by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department in connection with the fire, she added.
Clay Patrick Sherrill, 57, was arrested for misdemeanor reckless burning, sheriff’s public information officer Kelly Hoover said. A Santa Barbara County Fire Department helicopter responded as well.
The fire started on the beach and burned uphill on the bluffs near the end of the bike path.
“The units originally assigned to the call couldn’t handle the call, so two engines from Montecito Fire, one from Santa Barbara City and one from the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District assisted,” Jenkins said.
“There were four engines, one squad, helicopter, and chief officers for a total of 20 personnel at the scene,” Jenkins said.
Engines started being released around 12:15 p.m., when the fire was controlled. The total burn area was less than a quarter-acre. Jenkins said she wasn’t sure how close the fire burned to nearby homes.