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Santa Barbara County residents react to several fires believed to have been caused by lightning strikes

Posted at 10:33 PM, Aug 15, 2020

Residents in Santa Barbara County woke up to a rare mid-August occurrence: thunder, lightning and fire.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department received more than 300 calls for lightning-related incidents from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Fire officials are still working to determine how many fires broke out Saturday, but many are believed to have been started by lightning strikes.

One of the first fires reported in the Santa Ynez Valley was in Los Alamos that grew to about 15 acres.

It has reached full containment, but crews will remain on scene into the evening to ensure the area is safe.

One local said the lightning-caused fire in the Los Alamos region came as a shock to him.

“I haven’t seen lightning fires personally because we don’t get much electrical storms,” Lompoc resident Rob Marley said.

The Surf Fire in Hollister Ranch and the Harris Fire Harris-Grade Hwy 135 also kept firefighters busy Saturday.

Thousands were also left without power for hours on end Saturday.

“I’m just wondering I need to head home I need to make sure all of our food supplies are taken care of," Los Alamos resident Laura Arteaga said. "I don’t know how long we will have the outage for."

Arteaga said her family has made an effort to be conscientious of their power usage during the alert, waiting until nighttime to do laundry to keep their power usage down.

"I can’t wait for electricity to be back on, another damper on the day, but you know, another day," Lompoc resident Chris Swiacki said.