In Southern California, a wildfire burning in the Los Padres National Forest tore through more than 6,500 acres of wilderness Sunday as it continued to move into the rural hills a water-dropping helicopter helping in the fire fight crashed, said Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Eli Iskow.
Two pilots received minor injuries when the water tanker helicopter crashed Sunday afternoon, Iskow said. The aircraft went down outside the fire lines and the cause was under investigation.
The crash spurred the grounding of all air traffic over the fire for the day, hindering the fire fight and keeping officials from charting the growth of the blaze.
Twenty homes on the south side of the fire near Zaca Lake were
no longer threatened, Iskow said. Two ranches and the historic
Manzana Schoolhouse were still in the fire's path as it burned
through steep chaparral and overgrown oak woodlands.
At least 1,500 firefighters struggled to contain the blaze.
Investigators said the fire, which was 30 percent contained Sunday, was ignited Wednesday by sparks from metal-grinding equipment being used on private property near Los Olivos.