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Fire response crews face challenges as Lake Fire grows

The Lake Fire at night.
Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service via inciweb.gov
The Lake Fire at night.

An active, fast-moving fire has burned more than 20,000 acres in Santa Barbara County since Friday, but putting out the Lake Fire is a challenge for response crews. It was first reported Friday afternoon near the Zaca Lake area north of Los Olivos.

Fire departments from Los Padres National Forest, Cal Fire and Santa Barbara County are responding to the fire. Captain Scott Safechuck is with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. He said the recent heat wave on the Central Coast and dry vegetation have intensified the fire.

“The lower the humidity goes and the less moistures in the fuel allows it to burn with more intensity or carry fire that much easier,” Safechuck said.

Safechuck said the fire is burning on steep, mountainous terrain, which has made it difficult for response crews to reach. With almost no wind, the smoke is staying close to the ground. Safechuck said this has made it almost impossible for aircraft pilots to see.

As of Monday morning, the fire is at 8% containment. According to Safechuck, the cause of the fire is currently being investigated. He also said residents should sign up for county emergency alerts at this link in case they need to evacuate.

KCBX News is providing updates on the Lake Fire here.

This piece was produced with assistance from the Public Media Journalists Association Editor Corps funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

KCBX Reporter Sarina Grossi is a Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo graduate. At Cal Poly, she worked as a news anchor and reporter for KCPR Radio and as the Digital Manager for Mustang Media Group. Sarina was editor-in-chief of her community college newspaper. In her free time, she likes to read, watch movies, do arts and crafts, and go to thrift and antique stores.
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