Wildfire delays rocket launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base

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A wildfire burning near the Vandenberg Air Force Base delayed the launch of an Atlas V rocket on Sunday.

The Canyon Fire, which broke out on Saturday, reached 4,528 acres and was 0 percent contained as of Monday morning, according to a statement from Vandenberg.

The fire is burning in the canyon between Arguello and Santa Ynez Ridge Roads at the base north of Santa Barbara. There are no reports of damaged facilities, but the fire has caused many buildings in the southern area of the base to lose power. 


Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District along with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department issued an air quality watch Monday, to remain in effect until the fire conditions change. The air quality watch says smoke could affect various areas in the county, depending on wind. You can check the status of your air using the Air Quality Index.

When you can see or smell smoke in your area, the best thing to do is stay indoors with the windows closed and a re-circulating air conditioning on, and avoid exercising outdoors. 

Firefighters from Vandenberg, the U.S. Forestry Service, Cal Fire and Santa Barbara County Fire Department are working to contain the flames.

On Sunday night, access to the south base was restricted to mission-essential personnel only until further notice.

This story has been updated.

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