UPDATE: Disaster avoided as crews hammer Gibraltar Fire amid peak wildfire conditions

Oct 29, 2015

UPDATE: Friday, October 30, 2015 at 10:13 a.m.

Overnight winds in Santa Barbara did not fan the Gibraltar Fire beyond its 50 acre footprint, allowing crews to gain containment ground. The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management said Friday morning that fire was 50 percent contained—up from 10 percent on Thursday night.

The evacuation warnings for those areas of Montecito adjacent to the fire were lifted at 8:00 a.m. Friday. 

UPDATE: Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 6:05 p.m.

Fire crews have downgraded the amount of acreage burned to 50 acres. Evacuation warnings will remain in effect through 8:00 a.m. Friday morning. 

UPDATE: Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 3:15 p.m.

Los Padres National Forest fire officials said Thursday afternoon that the Gibraltar Fire was holding at 70 acres with ten percent containment. The fire burned entirely within Los Padres boundary. 

The Forest Service says federal air tankers played key role in keeping it contained.

Evacuation warnings had not been lifted for residents by Santa Barbara County as of this update.

"The warnings have not been lifted, but the important thing to remember is that this is a warning, not an order," said spokesperson Lael Wageneck. "An evacuation warning is defined as an alert to community members in an area of a potential threat to life and property from an emergency incident."

Wageneck said an evacuation warning may be issued when the potential or actual threat to civilian life is more than 2 hours away. A mandatory evacuation is declared when a wildfire directly threatens a community and residents are placed in danger.

Original Story:

Fire crews appear to be getting a handle on a 70 acre brush fire burning in the Los Padres National Forest hills above Santa Barbara and Montecito, near Montecito Peak. 

The Gibraltar Fire started just after 5:00 this morning and the cause is under investigation according to the Forest Service.

A wind advisory is in effect for the southern portion of Santa Barbara county through Friday morning, and these high winds were driving the fire in the morning hours.

An evacuation warning was in effect for the areas north of Hwy 192, east of Coyote, west of Buena Vista, and south of East Camino Cielo. (Zones 2, 3, 4, and 5 ).

All schools in the Santa Barbara Unified School District are open. 

All animals will be evacuated to the Santa Barbara Humane Society at 5399 Overpass Road in Santa Barbara.

Please contact the Santa Barbara County Animal Services hotline at: (805) 681-4332.

If help is needed to evacuate animals, please contact the Santa Barbara County Animal Services hotline and they will coordinate assistance in evacuation.