Los Padres National Forest Fire Chief Jim Harris said the wildfire outside Santa Barbara known as the Cave Fire burned more than 4,000 acres by Tuesday morning and Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said more than 5,000 people were forced to evacuate.
Fire ripped through brush and woodland on hills above Santa Barbara, California, early on Tuesday, causing authorities to order thousands of residents of a nearby canyon to flee their homes, according to officials and local media.
The Cave Fire started in the Los Padres National Forest at around 4:15 p.m.
On Monday in Santa Barbara County, about 90 miles (145 km) northwest of Los Angeles.
County officials declared a local emergency.
Nine helicopters were dropping water to aid 600 firefighters, who were bracing for rainy conditions later in the day, he said.
A single outbuilding was the only property damaged recorded by Tuesday morning, Bertucelli said, though flames were pushing toward populated areas on the northern flanks of the coastal cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta.
Firefighters from neighboring areas were rushing to Santa Barbara to help the local service control the blaze, authorities said.
Nearly 200,000 acres (80,937 hectares) have been consumed in wildfires across the state this year, according to the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection.