The fire broke out in Los Padres National Forest late on Monday afternoon and spread to cover 3,100 acres by the evening, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office tweeted.
Officials urge people to avoid fire areas.
No injuries have been reported so far but at least one structure near Old San Marcos Road was reported to have been caught in the fire, according to Santa Barbara local news station KEYT.
Still, the blaze is approaching the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta, which more than 6,300 residents call home, according to the release. The Ventura County Fire Department said it sent two strike teams of 10 fire engines to assist.
The fire started at about 4 p.m. Monday in Los Padres National Forest as winds gusted up to 30 miles per hour (48 kph).
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Power outages were reported in unincorporated areas between Goleta and Santa Barbara cities, along Highway 154 through Mission Canyon, and in parts of nearby Summerland and Carpinteria.
A lengthy stretch of Highway 154, as well as numerous public surface roadways, have been closed. Drivers can use Highway 101 as an alternate route.
She and her mother stayed overnight with friends and then went to a Red Cross shelter at a community center in Goleta, west of Santa Barbara. "Call SCE directly at 1-800-611-1911 or visit www.sce.com/safety/wildfire/psps with questions related to this potential outage", Ready SBC states.
The fire was mainly burning in the forest but evacuations were ordered north of Cathedral Oaks in Goleta in the foothills.
The risky cycle of fire and flood is a raw memory for many people in the region.