By Tom Bolton
Noozhawk Managing Editor
Evacuations were ordered Friday afternoon after firefighters responded to a series of vegetation fires in the La Purisma area north of Lompoc.
Crews were dispatched shortly after 2 p.m. to the 2200 block of Rucker Road, and first personnel on scene reported a large tree on fire and possible power lines involved.
There also were reports of as many as six other small fires in the area, according to Mike Eliason, a Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman.
A second alarm was called shortly after the first, bringing more resources to the incident.
The initial size-up was 100 acres burned, expanding rapidly in heavy fuels, with 50-100 structures threatened.
Shortly after 4 p.m., an updated size-up put the area charred at 300 acres with 0 percent containment, Eliason said.
Winds were reported to be 10-15 mph.
The 9-1-1 system was being used ordering people to evacuate, according to radio traffic.
As of 3:20 p.m., the evacuation order area extended from Rucker Road east to Harris Grade and north to La Purisma and Cebada Canyon, including all of North Mission Hills and La Purisma Mission, according to Mike Eliason, a Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman.
Communities threatened included Mesa Oaks, Mission Hills and communities to the east and west.
Shortly after 3 p.m., the flames were reported to have jumped Rucker Road, and emergency personnel were ordered to leave the area, according to radio traffic.
Two helicopters and two air tankers were requested, and more resources were en route to the fire.
A possible suspect vehicle — a former black-and-white patrol car without markings — was reportedly seen in the area, according to the California Highway Patrol.
A power plant in the area also reportedly was threatened by flames, but that could not be confirmed.
Hard closures were reported of numerous roads around the fire, and the public was being urged to avoid the area.
Additional details were not immediately available.
Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.