Santa Barbara Fire Update As Loma Blaze Threatens Dozens of California Homes

A California wildfire, with a "rapid rate of spread" in an area of Santa Barbara located around 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles, has burned at least 20 acres since it broke Thursday around 9 p.m. local time, according to the county's fire department .

Several parts of the surrounding area were evacuated, including the KEYT television station, which is near where the fire sparked on the hillside between Miramonte Drive and Loma Alta Drive, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department told the Los Angeles Times.

There were no reported injuries and the cause of the fire is unknown at this time, according to the Associated Press.

The blaze, dubbed the Loma Fire, was reported to be 40 percent contained as of late Thursday evening, following decreased winds. Firefighters are expected to be on the scene throughout the night, according to a spokesperson for the fire department, Mike Eliason. "This is extremely dangerous for FF's [firefighters]," Eliason tweeted late Thursday.

The vegetation fire damaged at least one home and threatened at least 50 homes and other buildings, including television stations in an area known locally as TV Hill, Eliason said.

Evacuation orders were expected to be lifted, with re-population beginning at around 12:30 a.m. local time, Eliason tweeted late Thursday.

Evacuation orders were issued for the areas, including 900 Block Miramonte Drive to Weldon Road, Isleta Avenue, Arroyo Avenue, Weldon Road and Loma Alta Drive from San Andres to Weldon Road, Santa Barbara Police tweeted late Thursday.

"If you feel unsafe evacuate," Santa Barbara Police wrote in the tweet.

Evacuation Map in Red as of 11:40PM. No New Evacuations Ordered at Time of This Posting.

— Santa Barbara Police (@SB_Police) May 21, 2021

Several local reporters shared video footage of the blaze on social media.

KEYT shared a "stunning video" of the blaze captured by its sports director Mike Klan on Twitter (@KEYTNC3Mike).

"Flames were only feet away from our building," KEYT tweeted alongside the video.

KEYT news anchor Alys Martinez tweeted: "This is video of the #LomaFire in Santa Barbara burning right up to our KEYT and KCOY studios. Our @HennesseeTV got this video of the flames burning close to our back door."

Another KEYT reporter, Blake DeVine, shared a video of a view of fire on TV Hill. "Our @KEYTNC3 news team has been ordered to evacuate station," DeVine tweeted late Thursday.

View of fire on TV Hill. Our @KEYTNC3 news team has been ordered to evacuate station.

— Blake DeVine (@bladevine) May 21, 2021

A Red Flag Warning was issued for the Southern California region on Thursday due to gusty winds and low humidity. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) tweeted earlier Thursday: "This is #CriticalFireWeather so use caution outdoors."

A Red Flag Warning is issued for weather events that could result in "extreme fire behavior that will occur within 24 hours," CAL FIRE explains.

The department warned Thursday: "California has already experienced a significant increase in the number of wildfires and acres burned compared to this time last year. With this rise in fire activity, now more than ever it's critical that all Californians are prepared for wildfires."

Newsweek has contacted the Santa Barbara County Fire Department for further comment.

California's Cave Fire seen in November 2019
A firefighter picture during the Cave Fire incident at Los Padres National Forest in November 2019 in Santa Barbara, California. A fire in the TV Hill area of Santa Barbara threatened at least 50 homes and buildings on Thursday. Apu Gomes/Getty Images