Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 3:04 pm | A Few Clouds 66º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Lodge Building at Zaca Lake Destroyed by Fire That Spread to Brush

Cause of blaze at Santa Ynez Valley resort under investigation; 3-5 acres charred in rugged terrain

A lodge building at Zaca Lake in the Santa Ynez Valley was destroyed by fire Wednesday night. Flames spread to the nearby vegetation, and 3-5 were charred before firefighters gained the upper hand. Click to view larger
A lodge building at Zaca Lake in the Santa Ynez Valley was destroyed by fire Wednesday night. Flames spread to the nearby vegetation, and 3-5 were charred before firefighters gained the upper hand. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)
A lodge building at the Zaca Lake Retreat in the Santa Ynez Valley is engulfed in flames Wednesday. The fire spread to the nearby vegetation, and charred 3-5 before being stopped. Click to view larger
A lodge building at the Zaca Lake Retreat in the Santa Ynez Valley is engulfed in flames Wednesday. The fire spread to the nearby vegetation, and charred 3-5 before being stopped. (Mike Young / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

A lodge building at Zaca Lake in the Santa Ynez Valley was destroyed Wednesday night by a fire that spread to the adjacent vegetation and charred 3-5 acres, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The blaze, originally reported as a barn fire, broke out at about 5:40 p.m. at the Zaca Lake Retreat, which has 20 lake-side cabins in a remote canyon on the north side of the valley, said Mike Eliason, a Fire Department spokesman.

When a county helicopter arrived on scene, its crew reported that the structure was engulfed in flames, which had sparked into the nearby brush and chaparral.

County crews, assisted by U.S. Forest Service personnel, quickly mobilized to attack the fire from the air and the ground.

With the help of two water-dropping helicopters and two air tankers making retardant drops, firefighters were able to fairly quickly stop the forward progress of the vegetation fire.

"We have fire crews on scene, and they will remain there all night," Eliason said.

Crews were able to get a containment line around the blaze and were working to extinguish hot spots, Eliason said, adding that they were being hampered by the rugged terrain and falling debris.

Meanwhile, the lodge building was reduced to embers and ashes.

"The large structure is still burning," Eliason said. "It’s a complete loss, and there is a lot of heat still coming off that structure."

Crews work to contain a vegetation fire near Zaca Lake that sparked when flames spread from a lodge building that was destroyed by flames Wednesday night. Click to view larger
Crews work to contain a vegetation fire near Zaca Lake that sparked when flames spread from a lodge building that was destroyed by flames Wednesday night. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

An investigator was on scene Wednesday night, but the cause of the fire had not been determined, Eliason said.

Nine fire engines were dispatched to the incident, along with two hand crews, bulldozers and water tenders.

Power lines were reported down in the area of the fire.

The Zaca Lake Retreat is perched on the edge of 20-acre Zaca Lake, the only natural lake in Santa Barbara County. It is privately owned and surrounded by Los Padres National Forest.

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.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department engines and air support responded to a vegetation fire in the Santa Ynez Valley Wednesday. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara County Fire Department engines and air support responded to a vegetation fire in the Santa Ynez Valley Wednesday. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

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