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Vandenberg AFB tallies extensive damage from last year’s Canyon Fire

The Canyon Fire that burned through tinder-dry vegetation at Vandenberg Air Force Base in September caused extensive damage.
The Canyon Fire that burned through tinder-dry vegetation at Vandenberg Air Force Base in September caused extensive damage.

Flames that tore through tinder-dry vegetation at Vandenberg Air Force Base damaged 200 power poles, 16 miles of power lines and 95 miles of communication cables at the military base six months ago, officials said.

Col. Chris Moss, 30th Space Wing commander, provided the details about the Canyon Fire’s damage and Vandenberg’s efforts to recover from the 12,500-acre blaze on Wednesday.

Despite the response from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, flames crested the hill, crossed a canyon to another hill and kept burning, charring approximately 20 square miles before crews fully surrounded it.

The Canyon Fire was the largest of five blazes in nine days extinguished at the base by 1,100 firefighters, 100 fire engines and 20 aircraft from throughout California and across the nation.

“Remarkably, we did not lose a single facility on this base,” Moss said, crediting the “unbelievable professionalism and dedication” of the firefighters.

The fire left 1,600 facilities without power and 67 required generators to fulfill their mission, Moss said. Some 450 feet of water pipelines had to be replaced, and 21 facilities need new paint.

Military officials have said the cause remains under investigation.

Noozhawk is a Santa Barbara-based news website. North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com.

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