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Fifty structures threatened under Rey fire, incident management takes command

Fifty structures threatened under Rey fire, incident management takes command

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As of Saturday, the fast-moving brush blaze dubbed the Rey fire, which sparked Thursday near White Rock Campground along Paradise Road has now grown to 10,782 acres, and firefighters have about 10 percent of it contained. 

The South Central Sierra Incident Management assumed command of the Rey fire at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. The team is working in Unified Command on behalf of the U.S. Forest Service with Santa Barbara County Fire and CAL FIRE. 

Officials from the Los Padres National Forest said 310 firefighters are on scene working to contain the blaze, and additional firefighters and equipment have been ordered and are expected to arrive Saturday. 

The Rey fire started Thursday at White Rock Day Use Area along Paradise Road of the Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara Ranger District. Smoke is visible from the Santa Barbara area and Highway 101. The fire is moving in a northeast direction into the Los Padres National Forest. The fire is burning in chaparral and ponderosa pine, and vegetation is extremely dry. 

Fire behavior is expected to pick up Saturday afternoon as the marine layer lifts. 

An evacuation order is in effect for the Paradise Road recreation areas, parts of Stagecoach Road and the Los Prietos Boys Camp. An evacuation center is on standby at Santa Ynez High School. Fifty structures are currently under threat. 

Highway 154 remains open to traffic, and Paradise Road remains closed. Campgrounds will remain closed through the weekend and beyond. 

"Santa Barbara County Fire and Forest Service top investigators are working shoulder to shoulder in cooperation to determine the cause of fire," said Woody Enos, unified Incident Commander and Division Chief for Santa Barbara County Fire. The cause of the fire will be released with investigation is complete. 

Level Three Fire restrictions remain in effect for the Los Padres National Forest. 

The Rey fire began growing Friday due to increasing winds and change in wind direction. The blaze began moving in a northerly direction into the National Forest system lands. About 500 crew members focused most of their attention on the northeast of the Santa Ynez River on Friday afternoon. 

Temperatures will consistently be in the 90s in the area of the fire, with a minimum relative humidity between 5 to 10 percent. Humidity levels will remain throughout the weekend. 

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210

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According to Cal Fire, the Rey fire off of Highway 154 and Paradise Road has now burned 2,700 acres and is just 20-percent contained as of Fri…

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