LOMPOC, Calif. - [UPDATE 7/23/18 2:41 p.m.] Santa Barbara County Fire Department investigators have determined the cause of the Cruces Fire to be an accident from a vehicle traveling northbound on Highway 1. No further details were released.
[UPDATE 7/20/18 3:00 p.m.] The Cruces Fire is 100% contained according to Fire Captain Dave Zaniboni. The Fire is reported to have burned 77 acres.
[UPDATE 7/20/18 7:30 a.m.] The Cruces Fire is 80% contained Friday morning. Full containment is expected by 8 a.m. Saturday, fire officials said.
[UPDATE 7/19/18 4:50 p.m.] The Cruces Fire is now 60% contained, however, full containment has been pushed back until Friday, July 20 at 6 p.m., fire officials say.
Acres burned has also been downgraded to 77 acres.
Santa Barbra County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni says firefighters are dealing with stubborn hot spots difficult to put out as well as difficult terrain.
[UPDATE 7/19/18 6:00 a.m.] The Cruces Fire has burned 80 acres and is 40% contained Thursday morning. Full containment is expected by 6:00 p.m. Thursday, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department said.
[UPDATE-6:00 p.m.] California Highway Patrol reports that the northbound lane of Highway 1 will remain closed until Thursday, July 19, 2018, at about 6 p.m.
[UPDATE-4:36 p.m.] New mapping by a helicopter fly-over places the Cruces Fire at 80 acres as of 4:36 p.m., according to Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.
However, Zaniboni said a more accurate acreage reading will be done once crews map out the fire by foot.
The fire is 20% contained. Fire crews will stay on scene overnight to ensure all hot spots are out.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
[UPDATE-3:54 p.m.] The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office have reduced the mandatory evacuation for the 7200 block of Highway 1 to an Evacuation Warning.
The Sheriff's Office twitted that Highway 1 is still closed but will be opening one traffic lane soon.
[UPDATE-2:23 p.m.] Goleta City officials send out an alert via their email service reporting that the evacuation warning for the Hollister Ranch, Cojo, and Gaviota State Beach areas was canceled by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Firefighters' aggressive attack on the Cruces Fire appears to be giving them the upper-hand.
[UPDATE-1:30 p.m.] Cruces Fire is now 150 acres with the potential to grow much larger, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Dave Zaniboni. Evacuations include the 7200 block of Highway 1 where several ranches are located.
An aggressive firefight is happening right now in the area of Highway 1 and U.S. Highway 101 on the way to Lompoc.
Firefighters from multiple fire agencies are battling what's being called the Cruces Fire - a fast-spreading, 2 to 3-acre fire so far, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni. The fire is burning in medium to heavy brush.
The first calls came in just before noon Wednesday, July 18, 2018. At least four air tankers and several other aircraft are being deployed to fight the fire.
Zaniboni said no structures are being threatened at this time but that could change. The California Highway Patrol reports on their Traffic Incident web page that the Cruces Fire has the potential to grow from 500-1,000 acres or more.
According to the CHP website, heavy smoke is impacting traffic so Caltrans is enforcing a long-term closure on both sides of the fire along Highway 1. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes. Highway 101 remains open.
CHP also reports there will be a closure leading to Jalama Beach from Highway 1.
Emergency scanner traffic is describing grass and brush fueling the flames with some evacuations underway in the area.
We are working to gather more details. Check back for updates on this developing story.