A wind-driven brush fire that started late Monday afternoon in Los Padres National Forest near Highway 154 in Santa Barbara County moved quickly downhill, prompting mandatory evacuations and threatening homes.
The Cave fire started just after 4 p.m. near East Camino Cielo and Painted Cave Road and by 8 p.m. had grown to at least 2,500 acres, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
It initially moved into a few canyons and rapidly expanded as it was pushed south by 15-mph down-canyon winds with 30-mph gusts. By 7:30 p.m., the fire was spotting in front of itself and had started at least one spot fire near Highway 154 and Cathedral Oaks Road, said Mike Eliason, a public information officer with the department.
“As this fire gets pushed down canyon, it’s going to start getting closer to homes,” Eliason said.
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