Monday, March 19 , 2018, 6:20 am | Fair 39º


Local News

La Brea Fire: 15-Day Blaze Now 100% Contained

Authorities still searching for suspects from pot farm at center of 90,000-acre wildfire; all evacuation warnings lifted as crews complete fireline

Two weeks and one day after it started, the 90,000-acre La Brea Fire was declared contained Saturday. Authorities say 900 firefighters remain on the scene in remote Los Padres National Forest east of Santa Maria, but all evacuation warnings have been lifted.

Investigators say the blaze was ignited Aug. 8 by a cooking fire at a marijuana-growing operation in the area. No arrests have been made but it is believed that the suspects are still at large in the San Rafael Wilderness.

Officials have issued a warning not to approach anyone who looks suspicious but to instead contact authorities. The La Brea Fire tip line remains open at 805.686.5074.

Saturday night, officials said the fire has been far less active in the last few days, which has enabled crews to complete the final two miles of open fireline in very steep terrain. Smoke may continue to rise from within the area for some time, but infrared cameras are finding little heat near the edge of the burn.

Remaining fire personnel are keeping a close eye on the weather. The National Weather Service said .02 of an inch of rain fell in the fire area Saturday, and showers and thunderstorms are possible through Sunday. Fire officials say they are using remote automated weather stations, or RAWS, to keep up with local conditions. Click here for more information on RAWS sites.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department has lifted all evacuation warnings, but more than 405,000 acres of Los Padres National Forest remains closed under an emergency order. For more information, call 805.961.5770 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Bill on Twitter: @noozhawk.

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