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California Wildfires

Cave Fire Threatens Santa Barbara

The fire could lead to additional problems with rain forecasted for tomorrow.

The Cave Fire burns in the mountains surrounding Direct Relief's HQ last night. (Katie Arnold/ Direct Relief)
The Cave Fire burns in the mountains surrounding Direct Relief's HQ last night. (Katie Arnold/ Direct Relief)

A wildfire in the hills above Santa Barbara and Goleta began yesterday afternoon and now spans 4,100 acres with 0% containment, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

600 firefighters are currently assigned to the Cave Fire, which is burning in Los Padres National Forest, near Highway 154, which connects Santa Barbara to the famed wine-making Santa Ynez Valley. There have not been any reports of structural damage or injuries. A mandatory evacuation order is in place for more than 2,000 homes.

The fire was carried along by strong winds last night, though they have since died down to the single digits, leading the neighboring Ventura County Sheriff’s reporting that “conditions have improved.”

Rain is forecast for tomorrow, which will further aid in controlling the fire, but also raises the specter of debris flows, as happened in Montecito to a tragic effect in 2018, killing 23 people.

The blaze is taking place just a few miles from Direct Relief’s Headquarters. Early Tuesday morning, the sky was blotchy with smoke, which could be smelled inside the office. Ash was present in the parking lot and surrounding areas. The fire was obscured by plumes of smoke emerging from the mountains, but had been clearly visible last night along the 101 freeway, which cuts through Santa Barbara.

Masks being prepared for distribution during the Cave Fire at Direct Relief's HQ in Santa Barbara (Amarica Rafanelli/ Direct Relief)
Masks being prepared for distribution during the Cave Fire at Direct Relief’s HQ in Santa Barbara (Amarica Rafanelli/ Direct Relief)

Direct Relief has made more than 11,000 N95 masks available to the public for free, and will be distributing them at its headquarters as well as appointed places throughout the community, at the direction of public health and city officials.

Masks will be available for the public at the following locations from noon until 5pm local time:

Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinic – Isla Vista Clinic: 970 Embarcadero Del Mar, Isla Vista CA 93117
Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinic – Goleta Clinic: 5580 Calle Real, Goleta CA 93111
Goleta City Hall – 130 Cremona Drive Goleta CA 93117
Goleta Community Center – 5679 Hollister Ave, Goleta CA 93117
Direct Relief HQ Lobby – 6100 Wallace Becknell Road, Santa Barbara CA 93117

UCSB and Sansum Clinic will be distributing masks internally.

Additional reporting contributed by Amarica Rafanelli.

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