Third fire in 1 week breaks out at homeless encampment in Santa Ynez Riverbed in Lompoc

Posted at 4:42 PM, Aug 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 19:42:15-04

Firefighters battled another fire at a homeless encampment in the Santa Ynez Riverbed in Lompoc Thursday morning.

It was the second fire to break out there in less than 24 hours.

Lompoc City Fire officials say their crews along with resources from Santa Barbara County Fire and a hand crew from Vandenberg Air Force Base responded to the fire shortly after 10 a.m. in the riverbed off East North Avenue and Riverside Drive.

Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading beyond the encampment area. The flames were knocked down in about an hour and no homes were threatened. 

Crews had to remain on scene though for more than two hours for cleanup, which included using a backhoe to move debris.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. No injuries were reported. 

Thursday’s fire was the fifteenth fire in the riverbed so far this year and the third in the last week involving homeless encampments, according to fire officials. 

The Santa Ynez Riverbed has been a topic of discussion in Lompoc lately as the City this month began moving forward with plans to remove homeless residents from the riverbed. 

As of Wednesday, the city had issued 66 eviction notices to people living in the riverbed.

City officials say anyone who doesn’t leave the riverbed by Sept. 10 will be fined for trespassing.

Lompoc moves to remove homeless residents from Santa Ynez Riverbed