Two wildfires burned in and near Santa Barbara County in California on Saturday, churning through acres of chaparral and trees and initially preventing campers from being moved to safety, authorities said.
Around 80 people at Circle V Ranch Camp were sheltered in place with fire personnel as the so-called Whitter Fire burned Saturday, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department said.
The campers were later evacuated and reunited with their families, NBC affiliate KSBY reported. Two other camps were also evacuated when the fire broke out, and there were reports of structures, likely cabins, burned, the fire department said.
The Whittier Fire in Los Padres National Forest had swelled to more than 3,000 acres by Saturday evening, fire officials said. It was sparked by a vehicle fire at around 1:30 p.m. local time (4:30 p.m. ET) and jumped across Highway 154, Santa Barbara County Fire spokesman Mike Eliason said.
The fire “has real potential for growth” because the area hasn’t burned in around 70 years, national forest public affairs officer Andrew Madsen said. The fire was burning near Lake Cachuma.
The so-called Alamo Fire, burning in San Luis Obispo County north of Santa Barbara County, has exploded to 19,000 acres after breaking out on Thursday afternoon, fire officials said. The fire was 10 percent contained Saturday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said, also known as Cal Fire, said. Evacuation orders affected around 200 homes.
The fires in Southern California burned amid record-setting heat. Downtown Los Angeles had a high of 98 degrees, breaking a 131-year record for the day set in 1886, the National Weather Service said.
In Butte County north of Sacramento, the so-called Wall Fire that broke out on Friday continued to grow Saturday, and was 2,700 acres and was 20 percent contained, Cal Fire said. That fire has destroyed 10 homes and four people were injured, according to the agency.
“We’re doing our best to get our upper hand on it, but we have a lot to contend with, with the weather and the fuels that are out there — very dry,” Cal Fire Capt. Amy Head told NBC affiliate KCRA. “So, a long road ahead of us.”