Update: Cause determined for Miguelito Fire near Lompoc

May 13, 2014

THURSDAY UPDATE: 6:11 p.m.—Santa Barbara County Fire Department investigators have concluded that the Miguelito Fire was started when untrimmed trees came into contact with a live power line.

Investigators say a 12,000 volt power line feeding the plant located at 2500 San Miguelito Rd. in Lompoc, contacted a tree causing embers to drop down and ignite the dry brush along the hillside.

The fire, which started Tuesday, is now 95% contained. Full containment is expected by 6 p.m. Friday. In the meantime, firefighters will patrol the scene and check for hot spots within the control lines.

THURSDAY UPDATE: 10:05 a.m.—Crews battling Santa Barbara County's Miguelito Fire reported  90 percent containment Thursday morning, as the Central Coast braced for another day of record-breaking heat.

The last estimate puts the fire at 632 acres and the coast to fight it thus far is estimated at $860,000.

All evacuations were lifted as of 8:00 Wednesday morning.

Some 1900 reverse 911 evacuation calls affecting roughly 1200 residents and businesses had been issued Tuesday evening as the fire spread quickly with hot, dry and windy conditions.

Winds died down Tuesday night helping firefighters gain control, but picked up again Wednesday as temperatures rose back into the upper 90s. Temperatures are expected to be a factor again on Thursday.

Shifting winds had moved the fire toward Highway 1, closing it briefly Tuesday, but according to Santa Barbara County Fire spokesman David Sadecki, the roadway reopened around 8:00 p.m.

Santa Barbara County Fire spokesman David Sadecki told KCBX the fire started around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, and investigators were not sure yet what caused it, but downed power lines were found in the area. The cause is still under investigation as of Wednesday.

It was announced Tuesday morning that because of the extreme fire conditions in the forecast, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department was increasing staff through Thursday evening.

Smoke-filled air was pushing into downtown Lompoc Tuesday afternoon. Stephanie Rivera works at The Bookstore on North H Street, and said you could easily smell the fire burning.

"It's a giant plume of smoke, it's drifting out over the complex here," said Rivera. "I thought there might of been something going on because the sun was really, really orange."

A strike team assigned to the fire was sent south to San Diego County instead, where a state of emergency is in effect. The Poinsettia Fire in Carlsbad has burned 30 homes.