90.1 FM San Luis Obispo | 91.7 FM Paso Robles | 91.1 FM Cayucos | 95.1 FM Lompoc | 90.9 FM Avila
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Loma Fire in Santa Barbara suspected to be arson, suspect held on $2 million bail

City of Santa Barbara, Police Department

Update 5/24 5p.m.

The Santa Barbara City Fire Department reports that the Loma Fire is now 100% contained.

However, Alta Loma Drive will likely remain closed to vehicle traffic until Monday, May 31, according to the department.

Officials also advise residents of the area to "please use extreme caution in the area as rolling debris and rocks continue to fall onto the roadway."

Update 5/24 3p.m.

The Santa Barbara City Fire Department reports that the Loma Fire is 95% contained.


According to the department, crews will remain on the scene until at least Monday evening.


Loma Alta Drive will "remain closed through Monday due to rolling debris onto the roadway."  

Original post 4/21 12p.m. 

The Santa Barbara Police Department announced an arson arrest related to the Loma Fire currently burning in Santa Barbara.

According to the department, the fire was reported around 9p.m. Thursday on Loma Alta Drive in Santa Barbara.

The Loma Fire is 70% contained at seven acres as of Friday afternoon.

“The fire progressed quite quickly just because of the wind conditions and the dry conditions within the county. The fire crews did an outstanding job putting out the majority of the fire in a quick amount of time,” Sergeant Ethan Ragsdale with the Santa Barbara Police Department said.

Around midnight, Ragsdale says, investigators noticed the arson suspect scrambling down a hill in the area.

“Fire investigators detained that subject and ultimately determined that he was a person of interest during this potential arson investigation,” Ragsdale said.

The suspect, Victor Hernandez, is now booked in the Santa Barbara County Jail on $2 million bail for multiple charges including arson and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Hernandez has also been a suspect in other recent arson cases within the city.

Benjamin Purper was News Director of KCBX from May of 2021 to September of 2023. He came from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.