Margarita Fire 60% contained Monday evening - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Margarita Fire 60% contained Monday evening

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The Margarita Fire burning east of Santa Margarita near the reservoir in northern San Luis Obispo County is 60-percent contained, according to CAL FIRE.

CAL FIRE says the fire started Friday evening and has burned about 120 acres. No structures have burned. 

Firefighters requested additional resources Sunday from across the state and had approximately 150 firefighters battling flames Monday along with a dozer and air tanker.

CAL FIRE says Sunday night's rain took some of the heat out of the fuels and helped lay this fire down pretty rapidly.

"We could actually see flames cresting at the top of the hill," said Madison Hagan, a Santa Margarita resident. "We have a dozer on the property right now so we will probably move dirt, get all that situated."

A community fire briefing was organized Monday morning for neighbors in the area.

"It's just too close for comfort, so we want to be ready, help evacuate our animals and other people's animals. All the neighbors here work together really well," said Victoria Jardine, a Santa Margarita resident.

Some neighbors said they were already packed up in case the fire takes a turn for the worse and they get the call to evacuate.

"We have our truck packed, we have our trailer ready," Hagan said.

CAL FIRE says the rain and increased humidity helped cool down the fire but crews are battling difficult terrain.

"The problem we are having with the thunderstorms right now is that also creates erratic winds, so we see the fire moving in different directions," said Chris Elms, a public information officer with CAL FIRE San Luis Obispo.

Fire officials say the Margarita Fire came within a half-mile of the KOA campground.

"The fire on Pozo Road was very close to us, and the CHP came through with their megaphones advising campers to leave. It wasn't a mandatory evacuation but highly suggested and they would say things like, ‘If it was my family, I would leave,' so three-quarters of my campground left and checked out early," said Karen Jacobsma, the owner of the Santa Margarita KOA Campground.

The campground was over capacity for the holiday Labor Day weekend, and when campers saw smoke, KOA officials say more than 60 campsites emptied early, resulting in thousands of dollars in refunds.

"It was a mass exodus and then, of course, we get rain last night so that kind of complicated things," Jacobsma said.

On Monday, firefighters concentrated on getting a line around the fire because they don't have access to the head of the fire. Several firefighters hiked in through steep, rocky terrain, and grasses being described as 10-12 feet tall. 

As of Monday evening, there are no evacuations issued for the area. However, the KOA owner was told CAL FIRE may issue another evacuation warning Monday night depending on the winds.

A portion of west Pozo Road is still closed from Riconado Road to River Road. However, residents are allowed in. CAL FIRE says they will re-evaluate road closures Monday night to see if they can open the road back up.

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