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County proclaims local emergency due to 3,100-acre Cave Fire

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Posted at 4:33 PM, Nov 25, 2019

For the latest updates on the Cave Fire, click here.

UPDATE (12:36 a.m.) - Santa Barbara County has proclaimed a local emergency as a result of the Cave Fire that broke out Monday afternoon along Highway 154.

County officials say the proclamation ensures that all county resources are available for firefighting and support efforts and helps facilitate potential state funding. The county is asking Governor Gavin Newsom to also declare a State of Emergency.

The local emergency proclamation states, "The Cave Fire is causing conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property within the County of Santa Barbara. These conditions are beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of the combined forces of Santa Barbara County Operational Area to combat."

It also states that the fire is threatening Southern California Edison's main transmission lines.

UPDATE (10:15 p.m.) - An evacuation warning has been issued for the area west of Highway 154 to El Sueno below Cathedral Oaks to Calle Real.

The evacuation order for the Cave Fire includes the area north of Cathedral Oaks from Fairview Ave. to Ontare Rd.

All public roads north of Cathedral Oaks Rd. are also closed from Patterson Ave. to Fairview Ave.

To see an updated map of the evacuation areas, visit the website.

Click here to view the latest emergency information in Spanish.

UPDATE (9:25 p.m.) - The Cave Fire burning along Highway 154 has burned 3,122 acres and it remains at zero containment.

Cave Fire burns 3,100+ acres; zero containment

Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Daniel Bertucelli says no structures have been damaged or destroyed as engine companies continue structure defense in the Upper San Antonio Creek, Via Chapparal and Cieneguitas neighborhoods.

He says crews and dozers were also beginning to build perimeter lines around the fire on top of the mountain.

More than 500 firefighters are currently on the scene and more are on the way to begin battling the fire Tuesday morning. Capt. Bertucelli says the priority for firefighters has been protecting people and property.

Helicopters will be flying throughout the night and fixed wing aircraft are set to begin work in the morning.

Capt. Bertucelli says the wind has been the biggest challenge for firefighters battling this blaze and humidity is low.

The fire is burning in the same area as the Painted Cave Fire that destroyed hundreds of homes in 1990. Bertucelli says there is a lot of fuel in that area since the vegetation hasn't burned in nearly 30 years.

For the latest on evacuation orders and warnings, visit the website.

UPDATE (9:06 p.m.) - An evacuation warning has been issued for the area north of Foothill Rd. and Ontare Rd. to Gibraltar Rd.

UPDATE (8:05 p.m.) - Santa Barbara County Fire officials say the Cave Fire, which broke out Monday afternoon along Highway 154, has grown to 2,500 acres.

There is no containment at this hour.

The evacuation order has also expanded to include the area from Fairview Ave. on the west side to Ontare Rd. on the east south to Cathedral Oaks Rd.

The fire broke out at around 4:15 p.m. in the area of E. Camino Cielo and Painted Cave, and Highway 154 was cl
osed in both directions.

Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Daniel Bertucelli called the fire a "super dynamic situation."

He said the flames were burning from the top of the mountain down south toward the Cathedral Oaks area.

Firefighters were focusing their efforts in the Upper San Antonio Creek, Via Chapparal and Cieneguitas neighborhoods, providing structure defense.

Capt. Bertucelli said the fire was wind-driven with gusts up to 40 mph at the tops of the mountains.

Santa Barbara County has activated its Emergency Call Center number at (833) 688-5551.

An evacuation center is set up at the Goleta Valley Community Center, located at 5679 Hollister Rd.

UPDATE (7:04 p.m.) - An evacuation order has been issued for the area between Highway 154 and Patterson Rd.

A map of the latest evacuation area is available on the website.


UPDATE (6:57 p.m.) - The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is reporting a spot fire in the area of Via Chapparal. People are being asked to avoid the area.

UPDATE (6:54 p.m.) - Evacuees with small animals may take their pets to the Goleta Animal Shelter, located at 5473 Overpass Rd.

Large animals can be taken to Earl Warren Showgrounds at 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara.

Those needing help evacuating animals may call (805) 681-4332 for assistance.

UPDATE (6:15 p.m.) - The City of Goleta says an evacuation shelter is in the process of being set up at Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Avenue.

The City of Goleta says it is monitoring the fire and reminds residents to sign up for Aware and Prepare alerts at

UPDATE (5:50 p.m.) The California Highway Patrol says closures are in place at the following locations:

  • Highway 154 at Highway 246
  • Highway 154 at Highway 192

Drivers are advised to use alternate routes and to stay away from Highway 154 due to "extreme fire danger."


UPDATE (5:10 p.m.) - Fire officials say mandatory evacuations for the Cave Fire have been ordered for Highway 154 east to Ontare Road from Foothill to the top of the Camino.

Evacuation warnings are in place for Highway 154 west to Fairview and Ontare East to Gibraltar.

Shortly after 5 p.m., the fire was estimated to be about 15 acres in size.


(5:37 p.m.) - Firefighters were responding to a vegetation fire along Highway 154 Monday afternoon.

According to the California Highway Patrol, flames were seen on the mountainside near E. Camino Cielo at about 4:15 p.m.

The area is located above Goleta and Santa Barbara and near the San Marcos Pass.

Santa Barbara County Fire says Highway 154 is being shut down in the area.

No other information was immediately available.