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Fire is 75% contained

7 May 2004

ANNA DAVISON

NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER

Santa Barbara News-Press

The Cachuma fire was about 75 percent contained Thursday. The weather helped firefighters battling the blaze, as temperatures dropped and relative humidity rose slightly. Full containment is expected by 6 p.m. Saturday.

More than 800 people are now involved in fighting the fire, with 17 engines, five dozers, four helicopters, one helitanker and three air tankers in the area. Fire crews worked through Wednesday night strengthening control lines and managed to secure the northwest and northeast borders of the fire. The fire grew by less than 100 acres overnight Wednesday.

On Thursday, the U.S. Forest Service closed the San Rafael Wilderness and lands near the fire. Nira, Davy Brown and Cachuma campgrounds are closed, but other facilities at Lake Cachuma, including Figueroa Campground, are open. Figueroa Mountain Road is closed at Midland School to everyone except residents, as is Happy Canyon Road at Armour Ranch Road.

The fire began Monday afternoon - the first official day of the county's fire season - and has burned 1,127 acres.

Fighting the fire has so far cost $450,000 and involved staff from the U.S. Forest Service, Vandenberg Air Force Base, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the Ventura County Fire Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Weather Service.

No additional injuries or property damage was reported Thursday.

e-mail: adavison@newspress.com