Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 3:54 am | Fair 57º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Lightning Strikes Spark Santa Ynez Valley Brush Fires

Fanned by 30 mph wind gusts, one blaze grows to 40 acres; flash flood watch issued for Santa Barbara County backcountry

Lightning strikes apparently ignited a wildfire that is burning about 10 miles northeast of Los Olivos in the Santa Ynez Valley, authorities said Saturday.

The fire was reported just before 6:30 a.m. Saturday in the 9000 block of Figueroa Mountain Road but firefighters are being hindered by wind gusts of up to 30 mph.

The fire had grown to about 40 acres by 10:30 a.m. and is about 10 percent contained. Crews from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and Los Padres National Forest are battling the blaze, and a water-dropping helicopter is on the scene.

A second fire was reported in the 7600 block of Figueroa Mountain Road but firefighters contained that blaze to two acres, authorities said.

Downed power lines also were reported to be arcing in Sisquoc, according to the county Fire Department.

Both fires are under investigation, but officials said lightning was reported in the area early Saturday.

Ken Williams, who lives in the 5100 block of Figueroa Mountain Road, said thunder and lightning flashes from the overnight storms woke him up Saturday. The Santa Barbara social worker and frequent Noozhawk columnist said early Saturday afternoon that weather conditions continued to be “muggy and warm” but that the wind had died down.

The National Weather Service said Saturday that there is a chance of thunderstorms along Santa Barbara County’s South Coast and in the backcountry. Thunder could be heard in Montecito beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday and into the afternoon.

The weather service issued a flash flood watch for the backcountry as the unsettled weather slowly moves through the region. Rainfall of up to 2 inches an hour is possible, officials said.

Saturday’s South Coast forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper 60s, with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms through Saturday night.

» Click here for the complete National Weather Service forecast.

» Click here for the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services. Click here to sign up for the OES’ messaging service. Connect with the OES on Facebook.

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

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