By Raiza Giorgi

The Cave Fire was still at 90 percent containment at the Star’s press time, according to fire officials, because the wet weather has made it difficult to get to some areas because of the rugged terrain. 

“Remember that additional smokes might still be visible for a period of time. Note how thick the brush is that they are working in,” wrote Cpt. Daniel Bertucceli in a video showing crews working in vegetation that is so thick that it wasn’t penetrated by the rain. 

The Cave Fire started on Nov. 25, and the cause remains under investigation. Strong winds fueled the flames that quickly spread and raced down the south side of the Santa Ynez Mountains, and even jumped Highway 154 in several spots causing the closure of the highway for more than a week. Caltrans officials said that the guardrails needed to be replaced, and the hillsides needed to be assessed before they could allow the public to drive the pass. 

This area has not burned since the Painted Cave fire in 1990, and luckily the more than 600 firefighters assigned to the blaze were able to protect structures and no residences burned. Only one outbuilding was destroyed. 

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway work zones and to watch out for emergency responders.

For traffic updates on state highways in Santa Barbara County, motorists can call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at (805) 549-3318 or visit the District 5 website at