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Terrain and winds force firefighters to take a different approach to contain the Cave Fire

Posted at 9:04 PM, Nov 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-27 00:19:13-05

Heavy winds and steep and rocky terrain are the two elements that are causing the Cave Fire to be destructive and difficult for fire crews to get a handle on.

Instead of turning to their dozers or fire engines, the circumstances have forced crews to take a different approach in trying to contain the blaze.

"The cave fire is burning under some of the toughest firefighting conditions anywhere in the world,” said Jimmy Harris, chief, Forest Service.

This caused crews to make adjusts on how they strike.

"We can’t access this fire with bulldozers because it's so steep and rocky. We can't access this fire with fire engines because of the terrain,” Daniel Bertucelli, Santa Barbara County Fire, public information officer.

This forced firefighters to attack most of the Cave Fire, on foot.

With hundreds of firefighters on scene, crews and their hand tools cut down brush to try and establish containment.

With some help coming from above in the form of Phos Check and even mud.

"Front country Santa Barbara fires are known to firefighters throughout the country,” said Bertucelli.

Highway 154 and Camino Cielo are the only two roads crews can use to access the fire.

Bertucelli says firefighters are fully engaged and doing all they can to put this fire out and get the community back into their homes.

Bertucelli says the fixed wing tankers and helicopters will be available for firefighters until the sun goes down.

When it gets dark, he says crews will only be able to utilize night flying capable helicopters.