cal coast news

Some people call him a modern day Frank Sinatra, bringing classics from the “Great American Songbook” to life.

Michael Feinstein has become an ambassador to older and younger generations of early 20th century American Standards by music legends like Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, and this weekend, he's performing on the South Coast for the first time.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

Firefighters have been making a lot of progress against Santa Barbara County’s Whittier brush fire, but they say it’s still too soon to predict when they’ll have full control over it.

The blaze has burned more than 18,000 acres of land south of Lake Cachuma, and is 49% contained.

Motorcycles have been a symbol of the open road in the United States for decades. 

Who can forget the movie which put them on the radar of many people, Easy Rider? Still, many motorcycle fans don’t know that one of the top collections of vintage bikes in the Western U.S., if not the nation, is right here in our backyard.

The Vintage Motorcycle Museum is located in Solvang, a place best known for its Danish flavor.

Crews from Pacific Gas and Electric are working to repair damaged power lines in areas hit by the Whittier Fire, south of Lake Cachuma.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

An eight day closure of Highway 154 due to the Whittier brush fire in Santa Barbara County ended late Sunday afternoon, with the reopening of the highway.

The highway had been closed from Santa Barbara to Highway 154 initially by the blaze itself, and later because of falling rock and downed trees. Crews have been busy for the last week removing debris and repairing damaged utility lines.

The fire was still officially at just over 18,000 acres burned, and 36% contained as of early Sunday evening.  Later in the evening, containment was upgraded to 49%.

Photo by Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Firefighters are trying to get a handle on the Whittier Fire burning in the Santa Ynez Mountains of Santa Barbara County that has grown to more than 18,000 acres. It's still only 36% contained.  

California Fire officials say they expect increased fire activity Sunday due to warmer temperatures, lower humidity and winds.

However, firefighters did get a break with the weather overnight from Saturday into Sunday when potentially strong sundowner winds in the forecast didn’t materialize. 

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

Firefighters trying to control the Whittier brush fire in Santa Barbara County got a break with the weather overnight Saturday into Sunday, when potentially strong sundowner winds in the forecast didn’t materialize.

Flames were once again visible in the mountains northwest of Goleta, but weren’t as widespread as they were Friday night. The fire has burned just over 17,000 acres of land in, and around the Santa Ynez Mountains, and is 36% contained.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

A new update on weather conditions for Saturday night says there’s still a possibility of sundowner winds overnight on the South Coast, but that they won’t be as strong as they were Friday night.

National Weather Service meteorologists say there could potentially be 30 to 35 mile an hour wind, but that it will be strongest east of the Whittier Fire, in San Marcos Pass and Montecito.

The fire has burned just over 17,000 acres of land in, and around the Santa Ynez Mountains.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

There were once again some flareups with the Whittier brush fire in Santa Barbara County Friday night, but concerns that sundowner winds might blow the blaze into homes on the west side of Goleta didn’t materialize.

The fire went from a little over 13,000 acres to more than 17,000.  The growth dropped the blaze's containment from 52% to 35%.  But, firefighters kept the flames well away from homes.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

Firefighters are being positioned on the south side of Santa Barbara County’s Whittier brush fire, to deal with potential sundowner winds in the forecast for Friday night.

The concern is that if the 25 to 40 mile an hour winds materialize, they could push the blaze down from the Santa Ynez Mountains to the hills northwest of Goleta.

Considering all the brush fire activity that’s occurred in Santa Barbara County this month, it seems fitting that this is when the federal government announced it will fund some new research on the fire danger in the region.

The National Science Foundation awarded a three year, $750.000 grant to a team of investigators based at UC Santa Barbara.

The project will focus on improving the understanding of extreme fire weather conditions and wildfire behavior in the interface between the Santa Barbara area, and nearby wildlands.

Some ambitious Los Angeles street gangs are taking their show on the road, so to speak, with Ventura County communities among the targets.

Ventura County has been hit by a string of residential burglaries.

Ventura County Undersheriff Gary Pentis says that gangs have become sophisticated in their approach to burglaries. Pentis says they are doing everything from using the internet to identify possible targets to doing their own versions of stakeouts, to try to identify when homes are vacant.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

As firefighters gear up for the possibility of strong sundowner winds which could impact the Whittier brush fire in Santa Barbara County, some new evacuation orders were issued midday Friday.

The evacuation orders have been issued for an area on the south side of the Whittier Fire. It includes all of Winchester Canyon Road excluding the community of Wagon Wheel, Langlo Ranch Road and Winchester Commons west to El Capitan Ranch Road.

Also, the order impacts Calle Real north to West Camino Cielo from Winchester Canyon Rd on the east to El Capitan Ranch Road on the west. Firefighters are moving additional equipment into the rural area because of concerns about potential sundowner winds Friday night.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

Firefighters battling the Whittier brush fire, in the Santa Ynez Mountains are keeping a close eye on the weather today, with the potential for sundowner winds in the forecast for Friday night.

Thursday night, a flareup of the blaze below Santa Ynez, and Broadcast Peaks on the south side of the blaze created concern for some Goleta and Santa Barbara residents, who could see the line of flames. There was a flood of 911 calls during the flareup, which last for about four hours. Fire officials say despite the ominous look of the fire, it was miles away from the closest homes. No new evacuation orders were issued, and the flareup subsided just after one Friday morning.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

The Whittier fire had a major flareup Thursday night with flames visible on the South Coast, but fire officials say it didn’t posing an immediate threat to homes.

The flames were slowly backing down Santa Ynez Peak, but were more than two miles from the closest homes.

Concerned people flooded 911 with telephone calls. Firefighters have been busy for the last few days creating fire lines at the base of the mountain on the South Coast side, to insure the fire wouldn't reach homes if it made it down the mountains.

You’ve heard the expression “the show must go on.”

Well, in Santa Barbara County, even though the Alamo Fire is still burning northeast of Santa Maria, it’s the County Fair which is still going on as usual.

The 2017 Santa Barbara County Fair is now underway, and runs through Sunday at the Santa Maria Fairpark.

Officials with a South Coast city say they are keeping a promise they made to voters who passed a half-cent sales tax, by committing to keep a once-closed fire station open for the next two decades.

This week, the Ventura City Council committed to fully staff the city’s Fire Station Four, on Telegraph Road for the next 25 years.

In 2010, city budget issues prompted the shutdown of the station.

The city later received federal grants to help reopen it.

More than three thousand firefighters continue to work to try to contain two massive brush fires burning in Santa Barbara County.

The Alamo Fire, which started July 6th near Twitchell Reservior northeast of Santa Maria, is 85% contained as of 6y p.m. Thursday, with about 29,000 acres of land burned.  All mandatory evacuation orders were lifted Wednesday, but access to the area is still restricted to residents only.  Highway 166 remains closed.

The Whittier Fire south of Lake Cachuma has now burned more than 12,000 acres of land, and stands at 48% containment, the same level it was at Wednesday.  Highway 154 remains closed from Santa Barbara to Highway 246.

(Photo courtesy Ocean Exploration Trust)

He discovered the long lost wreckage of the Titanic. He found what was left of the infamous German battleship Bismark.

And now, famed undersea explorer Dr. Robert Ballard has brought his exploration vessel, the Nautilus, to the Channel Islands, where his team is mapping, and exploring uncharted parts of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Officials have released the latest map as of Wednesday afternoon showing the boundaries, and evacuation areas for Santa Barbara County's Whittier brush fire

A flareup put up a big cloud of smoke which caught many people’s attention Tuesday, but when the day was done, firefighters continued to move toward containment of the Whittier brush fire in the Santa Ynez Mountains.

The fire went from 25% to 48% containment, with the acreage growing by a few hundred acres, from 10,800 to nearly 11,300. A combination of milder weather conditions, and added resources like additional helicopters helped.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

A man was seriously burned after his efforts to start a recreational vehicle led to a fire which injured him, and destroyed three RV’s.

The accident happened Monday afternoon on the 4200 block of State Street in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara County Fire officials say the man was trying to start an RV which hadn’t been driven in some time, and tried pouring gas into its carburetor. It then caught on fire, burning the man and spreading to some nearby vehicles.

Firefighters knocked down the fire in about ten minutes, but the RV as well as two adjacent vehicles were gutted.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

Firefighters battling the two major brush fires burning in Santa Barbara County say its been a good day Tuesday, with cooler weather allowing them to make new inroads on both the Alamo, and Whittier Fires.

The 29,000 acre Alamo Fire northeast of Santa Maria is now 45% contained. The 10,800 acre Whittier Fire, south of Lake Cachuma in the Santa Ynez Mountains is 25% contained. On the Whittier Fire, the end of the extreme fire conditions has made it safer for hand crews to get into more areas to build fire lines.

Maps show the latest on the Whittier Fire in Santa Barbara County, as well as the proximity of the Whittier Brush Fire to the Alamo Brush Fire.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

Firefighters have made big progress towards containing the two major brush fires burning in Santa Barbara County, but in the case of one of the blazes, they are taking a major new step to ensure the blaze never reaches neighborhoods.

The Whittier Fire in the Santa Ynez Mountains south of Lake Cachuma remains at just over 10,800 acres, while containment has gone from 5% to 25% as of Tuesday morning.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

Firefighters made major progress on Monday in their efforts to contain a pair of huge brush fires in Santa Barbara County.

They were able to prevent new growth with the Whittier Fire, which is burning in the Santa Ynez Mountains south of Lake Cachuma.  The amount of acreage burned remained at just over 10,800 acres, while containment went from 5% to 25%.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

It’s been a tough two days for Emma Bahsahbay.

The Winchester Canyon resident sums up her experience with the Whittier brush fire, which is burning in the mountains above her home, with an emotional two words: “I’m scared.”

Bahsahbay has lived in the rural canyon west of Goleta for three decades. On Saturday night, she looked out of the front yard of her home to see flames trying to work their way over the mountains from the blaze which started near Lake Cachuma.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

An estimated 3700 people have been evacuated in Santa Barbara County as a result of the two major brush fires burning in the region. 

The Whittier Fire, which started near Lake Cachuma Saturday afternoon, has burned about 7800 acres of land, and led to 3500 evacuations.

The fire prompted mandatory evacuations at Lake Cachuma, for the area from Armour Ranch Road to Paradise Road, for West Camino Cielo from the Winchester Gun Club east to Highway 154, and for the Farren Road area west of Winchester Canyon.

An evacuation warning was issued for Las Varas Canyon east to Winchester Canyon, and from Highway 101 north to West Camino Cielo.

(Ventura County Air Unit photo)

One man is dead, and a second was seriously injured following an ultralight plane crash in the ocean off the South Coast.

The plane went down at around 4:30 Saturday afternoon near Mugu Rock, in Ventura County.  Eyewitnesses told Ventura County firefighters that the craft appeared to have engine trouble before the plane plunged into the ocean.

Both men were able to swim away from the plane, but one had trouble swimming, and became unconscious. He later died. Their names have not been released yet. Federal investigators are trying to determine what led to the crash.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

A brush fire in the Santa Ynez Valley which trapped some kids at a summer camp, and forced some evacuations has grown to more than 5,400 acres.

What's called the Whittier Fire broke out just before 2 p.m. Saturday off of Highway 154 about 12 miles east of Solvang. The fire prompted mandatory evacuations at Lake Cachuma, and for the area from Armour Ranch Road to Paradise Road.

About 80 kids and staff members were trapped at the Circle V ranch when flames on both sides of Highway 154 made it unsafe to evacuate them.  Los Padres National Forest firefighters were on hand to protect them as they sheltered in place at the camp.  They were safely evacuated before sunset.

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