Over 13,500 evacuated after wildfire in California

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Friday, May 8, 2009

The recent wildfires in Santa Barbara County, California, have burned more than 1,300 acres (2.03-square mile) of land between Tuesday and Thursday. Over 20 homes were destroyed, 5,400 homes abandoned and more than 13,500 residents were evacuated.

Of the 1,400 firefighters tending the blaze, ten firefighters have been injured, three seriously. "There maybe should have been hundreds of homes lost due to the amount of fuel in that canyon and the 70 mph winds," Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Tom Franklin said. "There was some real effort made on that fire front and some real saves that the firefighters made out there."

"Sundowner winds really pick up after sundown and they can just wreak havoc," said a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County emergency operations center.

Near Sierra Vista, Arizona, another fire has taken three homes, critically injured one person and destroyed 4,000 acres. It is 30% under control.

The Montecito Tea Fire in 2008
Image: Edward Vielmetti.

Santa Barbara has just recovered from the Montecito Tea Fire, which took 210 homes in the fall of 2008. 2008 also saw the Sayre Fire, Chino Hills and the Triangle Complex Fire in California.


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