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UPDATE: Plant Fire burns nearly 5,500 acres, 60% contained, evacuations lifted

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Posted at 8:19 AM, Aug 20, 2023

UPDATE (4:46 p.m.) - Santa Barbara County Fire reports all evacuation warnings and orders issued to due the Plant Fire have been lifted. The fire is 60% contained as of Sunday afternoon.

Fire officials say the rain is helping crews gain control of the fire and some resources are being released.

ORIGINAL STORY: Highway 166 between Highway 101 and New Cuyama reopened Sunday morning after it was closed Saturday afternoon due to the Plant Fire.

The fire has burned 5,464 acres and is 5% contained as of Sunday morning, according to CAL FIRE.

The highway was fully reopened at 6 a.m.

The Plant Fire broke out around 1:20 p.m. Saturday in the area of Aliso Park Rd. and Foothill Rd. near New Cuyama.

In just a couple of hours, it had grown from a few dozen acres to hundreds and then thousands by the early evening.

Evacuations were ordered for residences between Aliso Canyon Rd. and Cottonwood Rd. Those orders remain in place Sunday for Aliso Canyon to Wasioja Canyon. An evacuation warning is in place for Cottonwood Canyon, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Resources were called in from across the area, including several large air tankers. Some firefighters were diverted from the Hapgood Fire, a blaze that broke out just a short time earlier near Buellton.

As of Sunday morning, 430 personnel remained on assignment at the Plant Fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.