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Smoking "volcano" at Hope Ranch is naturally occurring phenomenon, officials say

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Posted at 3:27 PM, Jul 28, 2021

The smoke visible on Wednesday at Hope Ranch in Santa Barbara came from a naturally-occuring event, fire officials say.

The vapors rise from the Hope Ranch "Volcano" which is actually a solfatara, they say. The geological feature is a natural steam vent that releases sulfur gases and water vapor. It was first noticed in the 1800s.

Santa Barbara County Fire said they don't know who first saw the smoke on Wednesday.

The vent ignited some hillside brush. No flames were visible, though the "volcano" has ignited flames in the past.

The phenomena occurs about once a month, fire officials say, though the vent is sometimes dormant.

When it comes to sightings of the Hope Ranch "Volcano", Captain Daniel Bertucelli has a message to share.

"We at the fire department know this is naturally occurring," Bertucelli said, "but if you see flames or significant smoke, call 911."

Santa Barbara County Fire says that no one was injured and no structures were damaged by the incident.