Vegetation fire burning at the east end of Santa Cruz Island.
Firefighters were battling a 450-acre vegetation fire that broke out Sunday at the east end of Santa Cruz Island. (Screen shot from Diablo Peak via Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club)

A vegetation fire burning on Santa Cruz Island charred about 700 acres as of Monday morning and was 80 percent contained after overnight efforts by firefighting crews, according to the National Park Service.

The blaze was reported at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday near the pier at Scorpion Anchorage, according to Capt. Daniel Bertucelli of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

By 1:30 p.m., it had blackened about 40 acres, according to Andrew Madsen, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire was burning mainly in grass and light vegetation, Madsen told Noozhawk.

Three aircraft made retardant drops on the blaze Sunday and water-dropping helicopters also responded to the scene. 

Channel Islands National Park spokeswoman Yvonne Menard said 49 wildland firefighters worked overnight to contain the blaze to the northeast of the road leading from Scorpion Valley, where there are campgrounds, to Smugglers Cove, which is on the southeastern edge of the island. 

Firefighters from Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Barbara County Fire Department were on the scene, and another LPNF crew and air support resources were on standby Monday, she said. 

No structures were damaged or threatened by the fire as of Monday morning, and no injuries were reported, Menard said. 

Campers and day trip visitors have not been able to access the Scorpion Anchorage for months due to pier construction

The park’s concessionaire, Island Packers, has been ferrying fire crews to the island. 

The company temporarily halted trips for visitors to other areas of the islands due to COVID-19, but was scheduled to resume service for the public on Monday, with trips to Prisoners Harbor on Santa Cruz Island and Bechers Bay on Santa Rosa Island, Menard said. 

The blaze reportedly was sparked by workers at the Scorpion Harbor pier, but that could not be confirmed.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Scorpion Fire flames

Flames from the Scorpion Fire on Santa Cruz Island are visible from the Santa Barbara Channel Sunday night.  (Island Packers photo)