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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 4:56 pm | Fair 67º


Crews Nearly Contain Vegetation Fire Near Orcutt

Blaze kept to less than 20 acres as crews fight back with air tankers, helicopters and ground crews

A fire burning near Orcutt was reported just after noon on Friday and burned at least 20 acres  by 2 p.m., according to authorities.
A fire burning near Orcutt was reported just after noon on Friday and burned at least 20 acres by 2 p.m., according to authorities.  (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

A vegetation fire on a hill south of Orcutt on Friday afternoon was quickly contained to less than 20 acres and likely sparked when a bird struck power lines.

Initially estimated at five acres, the blaze was reported shortly after noon near Orcutt Hill Road and East Rice Ranch Road and was growing rapidly, County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

By the time crews had surrounded 90 percent of the blaze Friday evening, the Ridge Fire had charred less than 20 acres.

Earlier, crews reported that the fire had moved up and over the communication towers on top of the hill and had potential to reach 50 acres.


So far, no homes are threatened from the Orcutt Hill fire, authorities said. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Air tankers and helicopters were dispatched to the scene and conducted numerous drops on the burning hill, according to emergency radio traffic.

No homes were threatened, but the firefighters initially reported the flames were moving fast, according to Zaniboni. 

Firefighters attacking the blaze from the ground had to deal with very steep terrain, he added.

By 3 p.m., minimal smoke was seen coming from the hilltop as helicopters continued to drop water on the site. 

A firefighter with second-degree burn injuries to his foot was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center, Zaniboni said. Another suffered an ankle injury and also sought medical treatment.

Investigators believe the fire sparked after a bird struck power lines in the area, Zaniboni added.

As a precaution, fire crews were expected to remain at the site overnight to monitor the blaze, he said. 

Noozhawk news editor 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.

Aircraft and other resources are being used to battle a fire burning on Orcutt Hill on Friday afternoon. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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