California - The "La Brea" Wildfire continues to burn in Santa Barbara County, just 26 miles East of Santa Maria. The fire started Saturday August 8th in the Los Padres National Forest and has burned 29,480 acres to date and is just 10% contained. Firefighters have battled the fire but have made little progress as the weather conditions remain unfavorable. The winds have varied from 20-25 mph while they have seen gust of 40-45 mph at times. The temperature in the daytime remains in the low to upper 90's.
The fire is fueled by mainly Chaparral with areas of grass and timber. The potential for more growth has been rated "extreme" because of the weather and terrain difficulty. Although there are 1,815 fire personnel there, the La Brea fire has potential of becoming large like the 2007 "Zaca" fire that burned over 200,000 acres.
There are 39 engines, 49 handcrews, 19 dozers, and 11 helicopters battling the fire. The fire personnel have joined in unified command including the U.S. Forest Service, Cal-Fire, Santa Barbara County Fire, Santa Barbara Sheriffs Department, California Conservation Corps, and Santa Barbara County Air pollution Control District.
Mandatory evacuations for 14 ranches have been put into place as the fire burns towards them.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Officials are asking for information in regards to a tan or gold colored 2004-05 Chevy van that was last seen on Sierra Madre Road in SB County on Saturday afternoon near the point of origin.