UPDATE, Monday, 6:40 p.m.: Firefighters made significant headway Monday against the Branch Fire burning west of the Carrizo Plain.
As of Monday evening, the 500-acre blaze was 90 percent contained, according to Andrew Madsen, spokesman for Los Padres National Forest.
“We’re feeling pretty confident that by Wednesday we’ll have this thing fully contained,” Madsen said, adding that cool, damp weather has helped efforts to quench the flames. “(Sunday) night was just exceptional firefighting weather."
According to the wildfire incident website InciWeb, the fire started at approximately 5:30 p.m. Saturday in a remote location between Branch Mountain and California Valley.
“Firefighting in Los Padres is always going to be difficult because we don’t have a lot of roads,” Madsen explained.
Six air tankers and four helicopters helped tamp down the fire initially, InciWeb said, surrounding approximately 50 percent of the fire with retardant and water drops.
However, authorities did not ask for air support Monday, Madsen said, freeing up those resources to fight wildfires elsewhere.
Madsen said about 125 firefighters, bulldozer operators and other personnel were mopping up hot spots Monday, including personnel from the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Cal Fire.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
UPDATE, Monday 1:47 p.m.: Firefighters are making headway against the Branch Fire burning west of the Carrizo Plain.
The blaze has grown to 515 acres but is 85 percent contained. Full containment is expected by 6 p.m. Monday. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to the federal wildfire information website InciWeb.
The fire started at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Saturday between Branch Mountain and California Valley. The fire is in a very difficult-to-reach area.
Six air tankers, an air attack and four helicopters provided aerial attack during initial attack and surrounded approximately 50 percent of the fire with retardant and water drops.
Helicopters are currently being used to fight the fire as well as to transport supplies to crews. There are 177 resources fighting the fire, including resources from the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Cal Fire.
UPDATE, Sunday 2:35 p.m.: The Branch Fire in the Los Padres National Forest west of the Carrizo Plain has grown to 400 acres.
Firefighters with the Forest Service and Cal Fire are battling the blaze with six air tankers, an air attack team and four helicopters. The fire is spreading at a moderate rate in grass and brush in difficult-to-reach terrain.
Firefighters report having more than half the fire surrounded by water and retardant drops. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
UPDATE, Saturday 11:45 p.m.: The Branch Fire has burned between 250 and 300 acres, according to the U.S. Forest Service's InciWeb website.
UPDATE 8:55 p.m.: The Branch Fire in the Los Padres National Forest west of the Carrizo Plain continues to burn grass and brush in difficult-to-access terrain, said County/Cal Fire Assistant Chief Eric Cleveland.
Cal Fire crews arrived on the scene at around 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Soon after arriving they realized the fire was in the Los Padres National Forest.
Efforts to contain the fire are now being led by fire personnel from the Los Padres National Forest.
There are no structures in the area, said Cleveland, and he expects his crews to continue to fight the fire with Los Padres National Forest crews throughout the night.
Cal Fire sent six airplanes, three helicopters, seven engines, three hand crews and bulldozers to the incident, said Cleveland.
UPDATE 7:25 p.m.: Cal Fire is reporting what they are calling the Branch Fire has grown to 150 acres west of the California Valley.
The fire is in the Los Padres National Forest west of the Carrizo Plain.
Original story: Fire crews have responded to reports of a wildfire in California Valley near Branch Mountain Road and Belmont trail, according to Cal Fire.