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Oct 28, 2010 11:01 PM by Ariel Wesler

Vandenberg fire burning on base near old explosives

Fire crews says the brush fire has scorched 400 acres, but is weakening. They say the six structures threatened initially are no longer in danger, but there are still some concerns.

Firefighters say the fire is burning near a large number of old explosive devices from previous wars. That's limiting where firefighters can safely go.

Vandenberg officials say parts of the base are also without electricity after the the fire burned some power poles.

The fire started just before 1 p.m. on the South base at Space Launch Complex Three. That's off Bear Creek Road. Vandenberg officials say thankfully no space equipment was on the launch pad. Winds reached speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, pushing the fire north and northwest. Water-dropping helicopters and air tankers have been attacking this fire along with crews on the ground.

"It's kind of burning up onto a mesa right now, so when it hits that mesa, it's going to be a lot easier for us to get our dozers in there and to put in some containment lines," said Capt. David Sadecki with Santa Barbara County Fire.

Firefighters say if the winds continue to die down, it could be under control by morning. No word yet on the cause.

Hwy 246 is still closed west of Union Sugar Avenue and that includes Surf Beach. Vandenberg officials say the last brush fire on base was the Pine Canyon Fire last September. It burned about 600 acres, but did not cause any damage.

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