Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

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Photos: Mike Eliason / SBCFD
Update by edhat staff
8:00 a.m., December 15, 2019

Los Padres National Forest officials announced Saturday the Cave Fire is 100 percent contained. The Cave Fire began November 25 and burned a total of 3,126 acres.

There were no residences damaged or injuries to firefighters.

Los Padres National Forest officials issued a statement thanking local fire cooperators for their support and shared commitment to protecting our communities.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Update by edhat staff
11:00 a.m., December 4, 2019

The recent rainstorms have hampered firefighting efforts of the Cave Fire and the containment remains at 90%.

Officials initially announced they planned to have the Cave Fire 100% contained by Wednesday, December 4, unless rainfall affected their progress. The acreage remains at 3,126 acres.

County Fire Department spokesperson Mike Eliason reports rain has hampered efforts in reaching remote and rugged terrain to complete containment line.  Therefore, full containment will be another week, December 13 or slightly sooner.

In the meantime, Caltrans is working to clear clogged drainage culverts on Highway 154 Wednesday morning following a brief but intense rainfall in the recent burn area.

Motorists are encouraged to use caution and slow down while driving through the area recently charred in the Cave Fire.

Photo: Mike Eliason / SBCFD

Update by edhat staff
7:30 a.m., December 1, 2019

The Cave Fire is now 90% contained with 54 personnel assigned and working the incident. 

Los Padres National Forest Firefighters are working to extinguish stubborn “smokes” in an unburned portion of the Cave Fire with thick brush. Additional smoke might still be visible for a period of time.

Update by edhat staff
10:15 a.m., November 30, 2019

The Cave Fire is 85% contained with full containment expected by Wednesday if rain doesn't hamper firefighting efforts.

Mike Eliason with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department reports the 85% containment will reach 100% by December 4. If the rain affects the burn area, full containment is scheduled by December 13.

Caltrans hopes to have Highway 154 open by Monday. There are 50 firefighters on the scene continuing to mop up.

Photo: Mike Eliason / SBCFD

Update by edhat staff
8:00 p.m., November 28, 2019
The Cave Fire remains at 3,126 acres and is now 70% containment. Firefighters will remain committed on the scene until complete containment is obtained.

Update by edhat staff
7:00 a.m., November 28, 2019

The Cave Fire is 40% contained at a revised 3,126 acres due to updated GPS and mapping.

Approximately 300 firefighters will stay assigned and committed to the fire to continue to increase containment.

Snow has fallen at the 3,500 foot level on the fire footprint atop E. Camino Cielo early Thanksgiving morning.  A light dusting atop used fire hose & on charred chaparral is a rare sight for the Santa Barbara South Coast, reports Mike Eliason.

The Los Padres National Forest along with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department would like to remind the public, that as containment efforts continue, the public might see light smoke and smoldering materials in the interior portions of the fire perimeter.

"We would like to reassure the community that we are aware of those issues and have approximately 300 firefighters assigned to the Cave Fire to address any issues that may arise," reports Captain Daniel Bertucelli.



Update by County of Santa Barbara
11:00 a.m., November 27, 2019

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, in consultation with fire agencies and other public safety officials, has announced that Evacuation Orders and Debris Flow Evacuation Warnings are lifted for all areas in Santa Barbara County. Residents are advised to stay alert to their surroundings and changing conditions.

Hwy 154 from Cathedral Oaks Road/Hwy 192 to Painted Cave Road will remain closed other than to residents of Hwy 154.  East Camino Cielo Road from Painted Cave Road to Gibraltar Road is closed due to continued fire rehabilitation work in the area.

The evacuation center at Goleta Valley Community Center will close. For questions concerning animal sheltering, please call (805) 681-4332. 

The Emergency Operations Center and Call Center will close at 1 p.m. today.  Evacuated residents returning home who have a need for wheelchair or other specialized transport should contact their routine paratransit provider.

Photo: Mike Eliason


Update by edhat staff
8:00 a.m., November 27, 2019

Officials report the rain helped firefighting efforts and the evacuations should be lifted on Wednesday.

At 11:30 p.m. Tuesday officials removed evacuation warning for the area North of Foothill Road between Ontare and Gibraltar Road. Santa Barbara County Public Works reported the San Roque and San Antonio basins on Wednesday morning. 

The Cave Fire areas received up to an inch of rain in the past 24 hours which significantly helped firefighters battle the blaze. Mike Eliason with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department reports 20% containment of the fire is expected to grow significantly today. The total acreage is 4,367.

Firefighters will remain on scene to extinguish "stubborn smoke" as resources begin demobilization today. Incident Command is reporting good progress on the fire fight with repopulation plans to be evaluated as all evacuees should be in their homes later today in time for Thanksgiving, reports Eliason.

Rain is still forecasted and the colder overnight storm could actually bring a slight chance of snow near the higher elevation of the fire, if you could believe that.

With small smokes still smoldering below, a rainbow appears above the burn scar near Painted Cave Road Wednesday morning (Photo: Mike Eliason)
Start Date: Nov. 25, 2019
Cause: Unknown
Size: 4,367 acres
Containment: 20%
Personnel: 600
Structures Threatened: 2,410 structures threatened, 0 residential structures burned
Injuries: 0


Mandatory Evacuations

  • Evacuation order boundaries expanded from Ontare Road to Patterson Ave. north of Cathedral Oaks, south of Camino Cielo.

Evacuation Warning

  • West of Hwy 154 to El Sueno, below Cathedral Oaks to Calle Real.
  • Patterson Avenue/Anderson Lane and Ontare Road, between the 3500 and 3300 block of State Street and down through Las Positas Road, and south of East Camino Cielo to the ocean. 

Road Closures

  • Highway 154 from SR-246 to SR-192/Foothill Road
  • Gibraltar Road
  • La Vista Road at Foothill Road
  • Debra Drive at Antone Road
  • Via Chaparral at Cathedral Oaks
  • San Marcos Road at Cathedral Oaks

Power Outages

Parts of southern Santa Barbara County are experiencing power outages due to impacts from the Cave Fire.  This outage is not related to a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). Outages have been reported in unincorporated areas between the cities of Goleta and Santa Barbara, along Highway 154 through Mission Canyon, and parts of Summerland and Carpinteria.

The SCE Outage Map can be viewed here.


Goleta Valley Community Center
5679 Hollister Road. Goleta

Animal Sheltering: For Assistance, call Hotline: 805-681-4332

Small Animals:
Goleta Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Rd.
Large Animals:
Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara

Emergency Contact Numbers

  • Emergency Call Center: (833) 688-5551
  • 211 or outside (805) area code, call (800)  400-1572
  • Animal Evacuation Assistance: (805) 681-4332
  • Southern California Edison: 1-800-611-1911

Do NOT call 911 unless there is an emergency

Update by County of Santa Barbara
10:30 p.m., November 26, 2019
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has issued a Debris Flow Evacuation Warning due to a strong storm arriving tonight, Tuesday, November 26, for the area between Patterson Avenue/Anderson Lane and Ontare Road, between the 3500 and 3300 block of State Street and down through Las Positas Road, and south of East Camino Cielo to the ocean. 

Public safety officials have determined that there is a risk for potential debris flows in and below the Cave Fire burn area. National Weather Service has predicted rainfall Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning, with isolated thunderstorms that can increase rainfall intensity. Residents are advised to prepare an evacuation kit and a plan to leave. 

If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any time, do not wait, leave the area and move outside the Fire Evacuation Order and Debris Flow Evacuation Warning area. If you live or are near creeks and streams, be aware that waterways may experience high flows and can rise quickly. Flooding impacts may be experienced throughout the county, but are a higher risk and may be observed below the Thomas, Sherpa, Alamo and Whittier burn areas.

If a debris flow occurs, and it is unsafe to leave, or you are unable to leave, go to high ground. Stay alert to changing conditions and follow the instructions of public safety officials. The Cave Fire Evacuation Order remains in place. To access the County’s interactive map, go to

The public is encouraged to avoid going out in the storm and to stay off roads. As a precaution, do not walk through flood waters; six inches of moving water may knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 for help.

Do not drive into flooded roadways or around barricades. Water may be deeper than it appears and may hide hazards, such as sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc. Twelve inches of water can float a car or small SUV. For additional information, call the County’s Call Center at (833) 688-5551.


Update by edhat staff
4:00 p.m., November 26, 2019
Rain is anticipated Tuesday evening after midnight and will hopefully aid firefighting efforts. The approaching front will continue erratic gusty north winds in the fire area through tonight with peak gusts of winds up to 40 mph. Humidity is relatively low near 15% and expected to improve later tonight.
Map of Cave Fire footprint (Photo: Mike Eliason)

Update by edhat staff
11:30 a.m., November 26, 2019

A section of mandatory evacuations has been reduced for the Cave Fire that's now reached 4,262 acres. It's at 0% containment and there are no reported injuries. One outbuilding has been destroyed but no residences have been affected.

Officials held a press conference at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday and stated the current firefighting conditions are the "toughest in the world" due to low humidity, several extreme wind events, and dry fuel. The fire crossed over Highway 154 in several places and the roadway remains closed.

However, the mandatory evacuations have been reduced from Fairview to Patterson Ave on the western boundary. The evacuation will be lifted by noon and residents are welcome to return home in this area, although some sections are without power as requested by firefighters.

The rest of the evacuations will stay put for some time, said Sheriff Bill Brown. Approximately 5,481 people evacuated on Tuesday with 324 people staying in their home.

Rain is expected to reach Santa Barbara on Tuesday evening and should help diminish the fire, although officials are concerned about it creating hazards for the firefighters and potentially small rockslides on Highway 154. Officials do not feel the amount of rain expected will cause a mudslide.

Evacuation map is not yet updated and has not removed Fairview to Patterson Ave (click here)

Update by edhat staff
8:00 a.m., November 26, 2019

The Cave Fire has reached 4,100 acres and is 0% contained as of Tuesday morning.

There are 600 firefighters on the scene and no reported injuries or structures damaged. The evacuation orders remain the same from Monday evening, according to Mike Eliason of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

At 10:30 p.m. on Monday, Santa Barbara County proclaimed a local emergency. Read the emergency proclamation here.

A press conference will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday to discuss ongoing firefighter efforts.

Update by edhat staff
9:30 p.m., November 25, 2019

An evacuation warning has been issued for the areas from Highway 154 to El Sueno and Cathedral Oaks to Calle Real, according to the Sheriff's Office. An additional Evacuation Warnings is being issued for the area North of Foothill Road and Ontare to Gibraltar Road.

Due to changing conditions of the fire, the Evacuation ORDER is now from Highway 154 to Fairview, and Highway 154 to Ontare, north of Cathedral Oaks Road. The evacuation map can be viewed here.

As of 9:30 p.m., the estimated acres burned is reportedly over 3,100 acres.

Roadways remained closed in the area.

Update by edhat staff
6:58 p.m., November 25, 2019

Mandatory evacuations have been extended to north of Cathedral Oaks between Highway 154 and Patterson Ave.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office just announced the evacuation at 6:55 p.m. Monday. 

The first mandatory evacuation order still stands, from Painted Cave to Camino Cielo and Highway 154 east to Ontare Road. 

A second fire is burning near the Cave Fire has reportedly jumped the Windy Gap. Early reports indicate the fire began around 6:25 p.m. near 1960 N. San Marcos Road. It's being reported this second fire has reached Highway 154 and jumped the Windy Gap and is burning above the Bridge to Nowhere.

CHP is reporting a large group of cars and bystanders are blocking the roadway for emergency personnel and evacuees. If you do not need to be in the area, stay away.

An evacuation map can be found here.

Shelter Location:
Goleta Valley Community Center
5679 Hollister Road. Goleta

Animal Sheltering: For Assistance, call Hotline: 805-681-4332

Small Animals:
Goleta Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Rd.
Large Animals:
Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara

Update by edhat staff
6:15 p.m., November 25, 2019

Mandatory evacuations have been issued for the Painted Cave community as a 15-acre brush fire, named the Cave Fire, grows.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Los Padres National Forest Fire Department, and Montecito Fire Department are on scene near Painted Cave and E. Camino Cielo. Crews are battling a wind-driven fire that sparked around 4:13 p.m. Monday.

Strong wind is in the forecast tonight and it's encouraged that residents are vigilant and aware of what is happening. Evacuation orders can quickly change.  

California Highway Patrol have closed Highway 154 at SR-246 and Foothill Road as well as Cathedral Oaks at S San Marcos Rd.

Update by Office of Emergency Management
5:42 p.m., November 25, 2019

Due to the fire in the Panted Cave area, an Evacuation order is issued for the area between Highway 154 and Ontare, and below East Camino Cielo and Foothill road. more information will follow as it becomes available.

Debido al incendio en el área de Painted Cave, se emitio una orden de evacuación para el área entre la Carretera 154 y Ontare, y debajo de la East Camino Cielo y Foothill Rd. Más información se proporcionará cuando esté disponible.

Reported by Roger the Scanner Guy
4:24 p.m., November 25, 2019

Brush fire off Camino De Cielo at Painted Cave. SB County Fire Department sending a full response.

Photos by edhat readers

Cave Fire view from Decker's Building in Goleta (Photo: Robert Bernstein)

2:43am from Painted Cave (Photos: Lynn)

Cathedral Oaks from Highway 154 (Photos: John Wiley)

Photos by Patti Gutshall

Photos by Christian Puga

Upper State Street by Beverly Cross

View from the Turnpike shopping center

Taken along Calle Real near iHop. Nov. 26th;  12:30 p.m. (By Chuck Cagara)

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Show Comments
John Wiley Nov 26, 2019 12:41 AM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Looks like there's far less chance of it crossing Foothill or Cathedral Oaks in the 154 area. No longer any obvious glow in the lower San Marcos Foothills open space. There's still some glow over a low ridge maybe a mile North of [email protected], but the area South of there has already burned. The helo that was working the East end had been ignoring that and dropping somewhere near the top of Cieneguitas where I couldn't see any glow. That helo was picking up water loads somewhere to the East (maybe Lauro Res?) and has since headed for SBA, presumably to refuel.

MT Nov 26, 2019 12:11 AM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Fire is established in canyon above Arnaldi turn (just uphill from Windy Gap). It has crossed the fuel break and is moving uphill on the western side of the canyon toward Painted Cave.

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 11:49 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Fire just crested two different ridges in the foothills, maybe about the 1,000' elevation level. I've just posted some new pix on SBitZ.NET but in the ten minutes that took, the one on the left has grown to a long line maybe on the South side of the San Antonio Creek canyon. Just saw a water drop near the upper end of Cieneguitas.

420722 Nov 25, 2019 11:45 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

As of 11:21 Noozhawk is reporting that animals are being taken to the Earl Warren Showgrounds so to the people that were talking about getting rid of the horse facilities well we NEED TO KEEP IT open and readily available at all times.

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 10:51 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Aviation wind forecast shows strong N wind at the ridge until 1pm or so. Latest report at SBA was showing NE wind at 12 gusting 18 at 10pm, and forecasting NNW at 9 gusting 17 any time now. I'm seeing occasional tall flames in the hills above the NE corner of SM Foothills open space, and happy to report they're pretty much going straight up. Once the flames give way to smoke, it's still bending to and fro though.

MountainMan4865 Nov 25, 2019 10:09 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

A little alarming that law enforcement or chp would use live road flares, unattended to block off the Painted Cave/154 intersection.

mtndriver Nov 25, 2019 09:57 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

KEYT kind of drives me nuts! So many inaccurate statements. Weather guy just said fire was in the La Cumbre peak area. No, sorry, that is not where the fire is!

a-1574757786 Nov 26, 2019 12:43 AM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

I love CJ Ward and once met him many years ago. He is an extremely personable, gracious guy. But this evening, while watching KEYT's coverage as events unfolded and while Tracy Lehr was reporting from Camino Cielo, I heard CJ say, "The fire is burning." (Full sentence, not taken out of context.) My s.o., sitting next to me, said, "No kidding." (Censored version.) It must be difficult to ad lib and keep up a running commentary during these stressful events.********* I wish I'd had my camera with me when I first saw this fire, at around 6:00 PM. The flames looked like they were bearing down on The Old Mission. Super scary. The sky was an amazingly gorgeous orangey-pink. And, as one commenter already noted: The smoke plume looked for all the world like Mt. St. Helens' plume when the mountain erupted. Thank goodness the winds in the fire area weren't blowing the way they were in Gaviota and Montecito. Up to 80mph? Holy cow. All our gooses would have been cooked. And I'm not talking Thanksgiving birds, either. Stay safe everyone.

Shasta Guy Nov 25, 2019 09:42 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

After one last trip to the Lawn Bowling parking lot, it looks like there has not been a lot of eastward progression. The wind gusts are picking up near the Mission, so my alert status is still elevated. We have precipitation coming tomorrow night, so hopefully this situation will resolve favorably.

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 09:19 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Lights went out on Salvar Bridge a few minutes ago. Apparently still on S. of Foothill.

a-1574744791 Nov 25, 2019 09:06 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Official auto-updating mandatory evacuation map from SB County Office of Emergency Management:

Shasta Guy Nov 25, 2019 09:02 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

I’m just glad it’s 9pm and we don’t have +80F temps with 20mph sustained winds in the upper east. I’m beginning to feel that Mother Nature May have some compassion on our city tonight.

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 08:54 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

I just posted a gMaps link to where that eastern flare seems to be. As I typed that, a new flare poppud up a little further East.

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 08:58 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Oops, meant to say posted that link on SBitZ.NET
About to put new pix there too...

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 08:42 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

I'm seeing a new flare on a steep slope further East and a bit closer to Foothill from the prior hotspot NE of San Marcos Foothills. Sure glad of the two helos attacking this. Also several long lines of fire vehicles up the hill in two lines to the East of the active burning.

a-1574742828 Nov 25, 2019 08:33 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Some useful twitter handles with good info:

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 08:40 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Thanks. No time to monitor those right now, so I'd appreciate if you could post the most relevant stuff.

Shasta Guy Nov 25, 2019 08:26 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

My daughter at Westmont said it’s really windy on campus. I’m picking up some breezes here in the upper east

a-1574742755 Nov 25, 2019 08:32 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

KEYT is reporting Montecito has wind gusts of 82 MPH! (That is not the case where the fire is - but still, way too close for comfort)

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 08:24 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

SE portion has flared some in the last few minutes. The fire above the NE looks smaller at the moment but the smoke is mostly obscuring it with some tall flames showing through it. Based on where the power line patrol helo was flying to follow the line up from the 154/Foothill substation awhile back, it's getting near that so we may see a larger blackout.

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 08:10 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Posted more pix to SBitZ.NET

Looks like they've beat back the front near the bridge, but it's still roaring in the hills above the NE corner of San Marcos Foothills.

Shasta Guy Nov 25, 2019 08:16 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

The Wundermap at the weather underground, , is still showing temps in the 60s in the foothills. Stay safe.

a-1574741448 Nov 25, 2019 08:10 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained,950h,34.454,-119.794,16

a-1574741212 Nov 25, 2019 08:06 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

According to @engineco16 on Twitter, fire is now 2,850 acres now and "The fire is down to at least Via Gaitero per aerial footage. "

Shasta Guy Nov 25, 2019 07:49 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

i was just at the Lawn Bowling Parking lot above Harry’s. The fire is definitely moving East, and the smoke plume is blowing due south over the city to the ocean. If sundowners develop later then it could drop to multiple locations above Foothill. Everyone need to be alert because this could turn into the Painted Cave scenario.

yin yang Nov 25, 2019 07:41 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Thanks so much, all of you & especially John Wiley. I feel better informed here than even KEYT. Gonna go pack more.

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 07:22 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Very wide fire line at SM Foothills now, lots of power hits, more helo water drops, and it that's not enough there's a big burn on the hills just above the Eastern part of SM F. I just took some pix, I'll send Ed and maybe post to SBitZ.NET too so they go on quickly.

Shasta Guy Nov 25, 2019 07:09 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

The smoke plume from the Mission looks like Mount St. Helens. It’s going to be a long bad night, and hopefully we won’t lose any homes. Take care everyone and think about being evac ready. Remember when the Painted Cave Fire jumped 101? If winds get really bad we might see that happen again.

SBZZ Nov 25, 2019 07:05 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Going to be a long night - lots of wind on the mountain - at least not much here near La Cumbre and Foothill.

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 07:04 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Wind here almost calm, but smoke at the bridge is moving around looking like ~10 gusts with variable directions. Lots of power hits.

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 07:03 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Another helo drop, fire on the Cathedral Oaks side of the bridge now. Edhat's slowing down so if this doesn't get on quickly I'll switch to SBitZ.NET

Z Nov 25, 2019 07:01 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Santa Ynez Peak webcam shows over a mile of fire on its western flank. (

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 06:55 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Hopefully it's a back fire I'm seeing very near the Salvar Rd. bridge ("to nowhere") at San Marcos Foothills. Just saw a flash in Eastern part of that actively burning area that coincided w/power surge. Just saw a helo water drop nearer to the bridge, so if it was back fire it may be getting out of control. Suggest you get eyes on if possible unless you've evacuated. We're packing.

Factotum Nov 25, 2019 06:29 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

County of Santa Barbara website has official twitter updates on the fire - yes, mandatory evacuation Ontare to 154 and other areas -bookmark the county website best place to get quickly changing information.

John Wiley Nov 25, 2019 06:28 PM
Cave Fire Now 100% Contained

Wind mostly light and variable [email protected], favoring from the West especially in gusts about 10mph. This leads me to hope that as with some previous fires in that area we'll be spared the strong down-slope winds that would most threaten developed areas near town. Absolutely need to keep a close eye on this overnight if you're not already evacuating. The fire footprint from here has at least doubled in width over the last hour. Can't tell how far it's come down slope. If Edhat gets overwhelmed by visitor traffic and I come across anything important I'll post it to the google-hosted (less likely to overwhelm) SBitZ.NET (nothing new there when I looked half an hour ago). Could be a long night for those of us following this.


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