Fire

Angel Russell

The first winter rains are expected this weekend along the Central Coast, posing a potential concern for homes along a hillside in Pismo Beach, scorched from the Avila Fire in mid-June. 

The Avila Fire burned through more than 400 acres of vegetation. Cal Fire SLO investigators determined it was human-caused and intentionally set, but no arrests have been made.

Ever since, the city of Pismo Beach has been working with homeowners and other agencies to reduce the risk of potential mudslides for the upcoming rainy season. 

NTSB/J. Dingham

Over a year after 34 people died in a fiery boat disaster in the Channel Islands, an official federal investigation is now complete. But the probe didn’t pinpoint definitively what started the fire aboard the Conception dive boat.

Mike Eliason/SBC Fire

Military fire crews, with help from Santa Barbara County Fire, are fighting a brush fire that has sparked at Vandenberg Air Force Base. As of Wednesday afternoon, it’s burned between five and ten acres and is moving at a slow-to-moderate speed. 

Angel Russell

With 28 major wildfires burning across California, most of the state is dealing with orange, smoke-filled skies and falling ash.

CAL FIRE SLO

In the month of August alone, five brush fires have sparked around the state park at Oceano Dunes.

Smoky skies are hard on health and businesses

Aug 20, 2020
Angel M Russell

Smoky skies continue to blanket the Central Coast, creating unhealthy air quality in San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Barbara counties that is affecting health and business.

A fire in Paso Robles on June 22 destroyed two homes, damaged nine others and forced a third of the city to evacuate. The nonfatal wildfire started in a small stretch of the Salinas River, in an area where city officials consider dry grasses and brush an ongoing fire danger.

Courtesy of the 5 Cities Fire Authority

A few hundred residents evacuated from a destructive brush fire in Paso Robles are now free to return home.

In this episode of Issues & Ideas: Learn how the San Luis Obispo County Fire Safe Council is helping local residents better prepare for fire.

Also, hear about REACH, which is the new iteration of the Hourglass Project, a year-old "action tank" focused on forming a viable plan to create new jobs and economic development across the Central Coast. 

Five Cities Fire Authority

The future of San Luis Obispo County’s Five Cities Fire Authority will be in the hands of a select group of voters in the upcoming election. The fire department that serves Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Oceano faced uncertainty in 2019 as the communities grappled with how to fund it. On March 3, Oceano voters will weigh if a tax hike is worth the cost of continued shared fire services.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

All evacuations have been lifted in Santa Barbara County even as firefighters—and the rain—continue to work on putting out the Cave Fire, which started Monday in the Los Padres National Forest. What began as a small brush fire has now burned thousands of acres, and forced thousands of people to flee from areas of Santa Barbara and Goleta. But for many in the community, the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday were just part of the California new normal.

Mike Eliason/SBC Fire

As of Wednesday morning, despite over an inch of rain overnight, firefighters continue to battle a wildfire in the mountains above Santa Barbara. A portion of Highway 154 remains closed, but all evacuation orders have been lifted after the Cave Fire broke out in the Los Padres National Forest, near the top of San Marco Pass Road in Santa Barbara County, on Monday afternoon. 

Daniel Bertucelli/SBC Fire

A fast-moving vegetation fire closed US Highway 101 for a few hours Thursday night northwest of Santa Barbara. Campgrounds in El Capitan Canyon and at the state beach were evacuated. As of 10 a.m. Friday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said evacuated campers and residents are being allowed back in the campgrounds to get personal belongings left behind. The state beach campground remains closed. 

Ventura County Fire Department

The bodies of  34 victims have now been recovered, after a Santa Barbara dive boat caught fire early Labor Day morning near Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands. The 75-foot vessel, the 'Conception,' was a commercial diving boat with 39 people aboard. Five crew members survived. The cause of the fire is currently being investigated.  

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on its investigation into the September 2 disaster aboard the ‘Conception,’ the commercial dive boat that caught fire and sank while anchored in the Channel Islands. Of the 39 people aboard, 34 died in the blaze.

Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire

Caltrans closed northbound lanes of Highway 101 due to a fast-moving brush fire that broke out around 3 p.m. on Monday.

There could be an app for detecting wildfires

Apr 26, 2019
Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

Predicting when a heat wave or wildfire hits in California could be as easy as looking to an app.

Five Cities Fire Authority's uncertain future

Feb 28, 2019
Five Cities Fire Authority

Arroyo Grande city officials and community members met for over four hours this week to consider if Arroyo Grande should stay in the Five Cities Fire Authority (FCFA), which isn’t actually comprised of five cities, it’s three—including Oceano and Grover Beach. The meeting came after city staff recommended Arroyo Grande leave the fire department, essentially dissolving it. Now San Luis Obispo County officials may be stepping in to help save it.

California wildfires: How you can help

Nov 14, 2018
NBC News

In response to the deadly fires that have burned through hundreds of thousands of acres and displaced thousands across California, organizations around the state are providing relief to the victims of these fires. Many are requesting monetary donations rather than items. Here are some of the ways you can help:

Shawn Hubler for CALmatters

Jen Burt lives with her husband and two kids in the woods not far from Grass Valley, in a four-bedroom foothill house in a stand of black oak and cedar trees. Tucked away on a private road, the five-acre spread is a hallmark California dream—and a potential California nightmare: It’s in wildfire country. Last February, Burt’s insurer of six years canceled her fire insurance. The scramble for new coverage was pricey and harrowing.

Cruces Fire near Lompoc closes Highway 1, prompts evacuations

Jul 18, 2018
Tyler Pratt/KCBX

UPDATE 07/19/18 9 AM

Calfire has revised the number of acres burned downward to 81 as of Thursday morning, and reports crews are about half-way (47 percent) to containing the blaze. 

UPDATE 07/18/18 5 PM

Calfire reports the forward progression of the fire has been stopped, and the blaze is 20 percent contained. It has burned 120 acres since sparking just before noon. 

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

Wildfires continue to burn across California. In the northern part of the state, a fire that’s burned tens of thousands of acres and forced many to evacuate has now jumped into Oregon. Over the weekend a rash of high temperatures and dry winds sparked fires across the Central Coast and in southern California. A fast-moving fire in the city of Goleta tore through 100 acres and destroyed 13 homes in a matter of hours.

Anita Ritenour/Flickr

With a heat wave on the horizon, public safety officials along the Central Coast are reminding residents and visitors celebrating Independence Day that all fireworks are completely illegal to use or even possess. Except where they are legal.

CalFire

Pacific Gas and Electric announced this week that it is providing $2 million to local wildfire prevention organizations across California. Two are on the Central Coast.

After wildfires, winter flooding a threat to millions of acres

Oct 25, 2017
Greta Mart/KCBX

It's Flood Preparedness Week in California, and state officials say they're concerned about water-related dangers at the sites of recent fires, including the thousands of acres scorched this summer in the Whittier and Alamo fires.

Steep terrain hindering Huasna fire fight

Sep 21, 2017
Courtesy of CalFire SLO.

UPDATE 09/21/17: As of 6 p.m., CalFire reports the fire has grown to 244 acres and is 75 percent contained. 

Firefighters continue to battle what is currently a 70-acre vegetation fire northeast of Nipomo, in San Luis Obispo County.

Cal Fire says the Huasna Fire started at about 1:45 on Wednesday afternoon. It’s burning near Huasna Townsite Road and Huasna Road. As of 5 p.m. one cabin was threatened and crews were working to save it.

Cholame brush fire closes eastern end of Hwy. 41

Jul 24, 2017
Cal Fire SLO

A wildfire ignited Monday afternoon near Cholame, east of Paso Robles, burning on both sides of Highway 41, according to CalFire. The blaze, known as the Olive Fire, has burned 150 acres as of Monday evening.

Whittier Fire Update: 87 percent containment

Jul 23, 2017
Whittier Fire Incident Command

The wildfire that ignited July 8 near Lake Cachuma has burned 29 square miles as of Sunday. Fire officials report the Whittier Fire is now 87 percent contained, but it may be the end of the month before the forest blaze is totally extinguished.

Brush fire ignites on Nipomo Mesa

Jul 23, 2017
Courtesy of CalFire SLO

A vegetation fire broke out Thursday afternoon on the Nipomo Mesa in San Luis Obispo County. 

Update: Alamo Fire 100% contained

Jul 20, 2017
Courtesy of CalFire

The Alamo Fire burned for two weeks near the Twitchell Dam east of Santa Maria. On Thursday, CalFire reported firefighters have totally contained the blaze and will spend the next few weeks mopping up. The fire destroyed 45 square miles of oak woodland and one home.

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