Monday, February 19 , 2018, 4:01 pm | A Few Clouds 57º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Crews Stop Forward Progress of Vegetation Fire Near Refugio Canyon

Homes were threatened in blaze north of Highway 101, near Venadito Canyon, but none was damaged

An air tanker drops a load of retardant on a vegetation fire burning Wednesday evening north of Highway 101 in the Refugio Canyon area. Click to view larger
An air tanker drops a load of retardant on a vegetation fire burning Wednesday evening north of Highway 101 in the Refugio Canyon area. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)
Capt. Adam Estabrook of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department walks back to his engine atop Venadito Canyon near Refugio State Beach during Wednesday’s vegetation fire, which burned about 20 acres. Click to view larger
Capt. Adam Estabrook of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department walks back to his engine atop Venadito Canyon near Refugio State Beach during Wednesday’s vegetation fire, which burned about 20 acres. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

A vegetation fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon in the Refugio Canyon area along the Gaviota Coast was halted after burning about 20 acres, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The blaze, dubbed the Bar Fire, was reported shortly after 4:30 p.m. near the 12000 block of Calle Real, north of Highway 101 and east of Refugio Canyon.

The initial size-up of the fire was 10-20 acres charred, with flames spreading at a moderate rate in heavy fuel.

There were reports at least two homes were threatened in the area, but none was damaged, according to fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.

At about 6:20 p.m., the forward progress of the fire was stopped, Zaniboni said.

Crews worked to complete containment lines, Zaniboni said, and were expected to remain on scene throughout the evening.

Officials made evacuation notifications via the 9-1-1 system for residences in the area, including Refugio and Venadito canyons, according to emergency radio traffic.

Numerous fire resources — including aircraft, engines and hand crews — were diverted to the blaze from the Rey Fire, Zaniboni said, which allowed for quick suppression of the blaze.

Flames move toward Highway 101 from atop Venadito Canyon on Wednesday. Click to view larger
Flames move toward Highway 101 from atop Venadito Canyon on Wednesday. (Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

Among the first firefighters on scene was a Calfire strike team from El Dorado County that happened to be driving north on Highway 101 when the fire broke out.

Refugio Canyon Road was shut down for a time at Highway 101.

Earl Warren Showgrounds was opened to accept large animals evacuated from the fire area.

Evacuation orders for the Refugio area between Coal Canyon and the refinery were downgraded to evacuation warnings, with authorities instead telling people to shelter in place, around 6:30 p.m. 

The Red Cross did activate an evacuation center at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School for affected residents, the same site being used for Rey Fire evacuees.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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.

Crews responded Wednesday afternoon to a vegetation fire north of Highway 101 near Refugio Canyon. Click to view larger
Crews responded Wednesday afternoon to a vegetation fire north of Highway 101 near Refugio Canyon. (Diego Topete / Noozhawk photo)
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