Vegetation Fire on Santa Cruz Island Grows to 250 Acres Overnight

Vegetation Fire on Santa Cruz Island Grows to 250 Acres Overnight

27 March 2018

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USA – A vegetation fire reported on Santa Cruz Island Tuesday afternoon grew to 250 acres overnight.

The fire started around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday near the main ranch, on Nature Conservancy property, Channel Islands National Park spokeswoman Yvonne Menard said.

The blaze, which put up dramatic plumes of smoke that were very visible from the Santa Barbara County South Coast and Ventura County, quickly grew to 100 acres and the National Parks Service called in air tankers and firefighters to help put out the blaze.

Responders think the fire “escaped from a prescribed small burn pile fire that had been set earlier this week,” she said.

The fire was driven by moderately strong winds and grew to 100 acres as of about 7 p.m. Tuesday, and grew to about 250 acres Wednesday morning.

Since the National Park Service requested help from the U.S. Forest Service to fight the fire, the Los Padres National Forest sent four air tankers to make drops.

The U.S. Forest Service requested three crews, 60 firefighters total, to help contain the blaze and they will head to the island from Ventura Wednesday morning, Menard said.

On the ground, there are 11 National Parks Service hotshot fire crew members who were on the island for the prescribed burns, she said.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department also sent a hand crew as mutual aid.

The National Park Service decided to evacuate 30 people, including eight campers, from the main ranch, Santa Cruz Island Reserve, Navy Site, and Del Norte campground by Island Packers boat, and Island Packers canceled all public trips to Santa Cruz Island for Wednesday.

There were no structures at risk and no injuries reported.

Santa Cruz Island is the largest island in the Channel Islands National Park and has camping allowed on the eastern edge, at Scorpion Ranch.

The western 76-percent of the island is owned by the Nature Conservancy and it is that portion of the island where the vegetation fire was burning Tuesday.

No further details were available.

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