A Southern California Edison power line sparked a vegetation fire in May on the Hollister Ranch, according to a report by Santa Barbara County fire investigators released Wednesday.
The 156-acre fire ignited shortly before 2:15 a.m. on May 7 on the east end of the 14,400-acre ranch west of Gaviota.
A Southern California Edison utility pole failed and fell to the ground, causing the fire, the report concluded.
“The utility pole fell in a southerly direction in alignment with approximate 30 mph north winds (sundowners),” the report stated. “An energized conductor, connected to the utility pole, arced to the ground and ignited surrounding vegetation, causing the Hollister fire.”
The early morning blaze initially spread rapidly and was being pushed by offshore winds.
At the peak, more than 100 fire personnel were assigned to the fire.
Engine and hand crews were on the scene, with aid from aircraft, bulldozers and water tenders.
Some residents in the area were told to evacuate at the height of the fire, which also blackened California state park property.
Firefighters contained the blaze later in the day.