Staff Report

Santa Barbara County Fire released the causes for two vegetation fires that charred roughly 200 acres in and near the Santa Ynez Valley last week.

The Cruces Fire broke out on Highway 1 approximately three miles west of the 101 at 11:56 a.m. on Wednesday, July 18. The cause of that fire was due to a vehicle overheating along the road and it caught the nearby vegetation on fire at the Hanson Ranch. The Mathis operate the 14,000 acre cattle ranch that belonged to their late relative Louise Hanson. She collected various historic parcels in Gaviota throughout the last half of the 20th century in which she left in an Agricultural Conservation Easement, to continue the legacy of cattle ranching and wide open spaces along the Central Coast. Hanson passed away in January of 2014 at the age of 99.

The Windmill Fire that started on Friday, July 20 was caused by a tractor in an agricultural field which caught nearby vegetation on fire in the Bobcat Springs area. That fire burned 110 acres and with the two air tankers dropping retardant and helicopters dropping water, forward progress of the fire was quickly stopped within an hour, to the delight of the residents of Bobcat Springs.