SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) – Smoke and ash from a massive wildfire in Santa Barbara County is causing potential health problems in three counties.
Smog officials say pollution from the fire could create unhealthful air from Ventura to northern Los Angeles County, 50 miles from the flames. Yesterday, heavy ash fell in Ojai, 22 miles away.
The fire that began on July Fourth has burned more than 268 square miles in Los Padres National Forest. It increased by 16,000 acres last night and all that brush going up in smoke has sent plumes of pollution skyward.
Crews also have set backfires ahead of the fire to deprive it of fuel. The blaze is 65% contained and has cost nearly $79 million to fight.
It was ignited by sparks from equipment used to repair a water pipe.