A wind-driven two-alarm brush fire that broke out Sunday afternoon burned an estimated 600 acres off State Route 246 west of Buellton, authorities said.
The Drum Fire was reported at 12:53 p.m. in the 7300 block of the 246 near Domingos Road west of Buellton. Santa Barbara County Fire Department crews arrived on scene and found the fire burning east at a rapid rate of spread with multiple structures threatened, according to fire officials.
An evacuation order was issued for the area north of the 246 and east of Domingos Road to Highway 101, which includes the Bobcat Springs area north of Buellton. The city of Buellton posted on Facebook that evacuation orders were issued “based upon the anticipated direction of fire, but NOT within the City of Buellton.”
With fire resources staged near the city, officials said that residents should “not assume that Fire vehicles in the City indicate a need for evacuation.”
As of 1:15 p.m., the fire was estimated to be 20 acres with the potential for 800 acres, according to scanner traffic.
By 2 p.m., the fire had reportedly grown to 175 acres. The temperature in the area of the fire was 69 degrees. West to northwest winds of 15 mph were reported, with gusts up to 25 mph. The relative humidity was at 55%, according to the National Weather Service.
Both rotor and fixed-wing aircraft were assisting ground crews, as well as a helicopter. Multiple air tankers were also ordered, fire officials said.
Several fire engines were conducting structure protection in the area of the fire. Multiple vineyards were also located in the source of the blaze.
Santa Barbara County Animal Services was activated Sunday afternoon to assist with large livestock evacuation, which were being sent to the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Grounds. Small animals were being evacuated to the Santa Maria animal shelter, at 548 W. Foster Road.
The 246 was closed to through traffic from Buellton to Lompoc.
An investigator was en route to determine the cause of the fire. This is a developing story. For more, see Monday’s News-Press.