Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 11:30 pm | A Few Clouds 62º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Quick Actions of Neighbors Credited with Corraling Montecito Foothills Fire

Arcing power lines blamed for sparking vegetation fire among eucalyptus trees east of Romero Canyon Road

A Montecito firefighter checks for embers after a small vegetation fire was extinguished Friday night in the 2700 block of Bella Vista Drive. Click to view larger
A Montecito firefighter checks for embers after a small vegetation fire was extinguished Friday night in the 2700 block of Bella Vista Drive. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

A brush fire broke out in the Montecito foothills Friday night, but the swift response of two neighbors helped prevent a bigger conflagration in extremely windy conditions.

According to the Montecito Fire Protection District, the fire began just after 8:30 p.m. in the 2700 block of Bella Vista Drive, near Buckthorn Road east of Romero Canyon Road.

Skylar Peak, a Malibu city councilman, and his friend, Jeff King, happened to step outside King’s house in search of a corkscrew to open a bottle of vintage wine when they smelled smoke and went to investigate.

At the time, winds on the hillside on Montecito’s eastern edge were gusting to 55 mph. The men quickly spotted sparks from an electrical wire that had come in contact with the trunk of a eucalyptus tree. At the base of the tree, they said, a spot fire measuring approximately 10 feet by 20 feet was burning.

The pair immediately called 9-1-1 to report the fire, and then attacked it with a garden hose, slowing the flames. Montecito firefighters arrived shortly after and took over the effort to stop the blaze, which was burning under a row of eucalyptus trees.

Montecito Fire Battalion Chief Todd Edwards, the incident commander, estimated the total area burned was about a tenth of an acre. He credited a flawless mutual-aid response for limiting the fire under extremely hazardous fire conditions.

Authorities determined that arcing power lines were the cause of the fire, which was controlled by 8:52 p.m.

Montecito Fire crews were assisted by personnel from the Carpinteria/Summerland, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County and U.S. Forest Service fire departments.

The Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol were at the scene to control traffic.

(Skylar Peak video)

Arcing power lines were determined to be the cause of the fire. Click to view larger
Arcing power lines were determined to be the cause of the fire. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)
The glass of wine that may have helped avert disaster in the wind-swept Montecito foothills Friday night. Click to view larger
The glass of wine that may have helped avert disaster in the wind-swept Montecito foothills Friday night. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

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