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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >