Tuesday, November 13 , 2018, 1:28 pm | Fair 72º


Crews Respond to Vegetation Fire East of Santa Maria

Santa Barbara County Fire and U.S. Forest Service ground crews and aircraft responded Thursday afternoon to a vegetation fire that started at the 2400 block of Tepusquet Road, near Foxen Canyon, east of Santa Maria.

About 200 firefighters were on the scene to try to stop the Tepusquet Fire, which had spread to 15 to 20 acres by 3:25 p.m.

The blaze was 70 percent contained by 6:30 p.m., and authorities determined the cause was exhaust from a tractor working in a vineyard.

One firefighter suffered moderate second-degree burns on his lower leg and was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital, County Fire Capt. David Sadecki said.

The fire was called in around 1:20 p.m. and had been burning uphill in heavy vegetation, pushed by a moderate westward wind, according to Sadecki. It also burned a portion of the vineyard.

Crews were trying to flank the fire and stop it at the top of the hill, with seven engines, two dozers, two crews, two water tenders, two air tankers and three helicopters on the scene.

"Phone service to the area is very difficult and very limited," Sadecki said.

Some resources were released around 4:15 p.m. and others were working to build retardant and hand lines to flank the fire. Santa Barbara County sent out reverse notification calls through the 9-1-1 system to local residents alerting them there was a fire in the area, but no evacuations have been ordered, Sadecki said. 

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 

No structures were threatened and no evacuation orders were given, but Sheriff's Department Search & Rescue team members responded to the area.

SAR staged at Sisquoc County Fire Station 23 to determine if any evacuations needed to be made, public information officer Valerie Walston said.

County Fire crews were assisted by the U.S. Forest Service, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Cal Fire, the California Highway Patrol and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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