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Fire destroys 100 homes in Montecito

November 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Firefighters are working to gain ground on the "Tea Fire" raging in Montecito. The blaze has forced evacuations across the area. A Santa Barbara County spokesperson said the blaze has burned at least 2,500 acres and destroyed more than 100 homes in the upscale community. More than 5,440 homes remain evacuated.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency for Santa Barbara County. The governor's declaration Friday dedicates state personnel and equipment to the firefighting effort in the celebrity enclave of Montecito and the town of Santa Barbara.

Mandatory evacuations are in effect, including residents on both sides of Tunnel Road above Montrose and residents on the east side of Tunnel Road below Montrose. All residents above Alameda Padre Serra (APS) from Eucalyptus Hill Road to Salinas/Five Points area to Tunnel Road have been ordered to evacuate, as well as residents above Highway 192 between Hot Springs Road and Mission Canyon Road/Tunnel Road.

Residents on Gibraltar Road above the west fork of the Cold Springs Trail should evacuate to the North via Camino Cielo. Residents below the west fork should evacuate South.

At least 500 firefighters are battling the blaze. Four agencies are on scene, and 15 strike teams from Los Angeles County are assisting. Fire officials began an aggressive attack from the air at daybreak with the help of nine water-dropping helicopters and 10 air tankers.

The fire, whipped by fierce winds overnight, has burned nearly four square miles, prompting the city of Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara County to declare a local emergency.

Thirteen people have been injured. Ten suffered smoke inhalation, including two firefighters, and three others suffered burns. One firefighter suffered second degree burns to his face and hands while defending a structure. He was treated and released from a burn center in Sherman Oaks. Two residents are being treated at UC Irvine Medical Center for severe burns.

The fire was reported at about 5:45 p.m. Thursday. The blaze began in the Cold Springs area of Montecito, approximately five miles south of the city of Santa Barbara. The fire reportedly began north of Westmont in an area called the "Tea Garden."

Wind gusts were reported as high as 70 mph, according to the National Weather Service, but died down significantly after 11:30 p.m.

The fire temporarily knocked out power to more than 20,000 homes in Santa Barbara Thursday night.

There is no estimate on containment at this time. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The American Red Cross has set up a shelter at San Marcos High School, where about 200 people are waiting out the fire. The school is located at the intersection of Turnpike Road and Hollister Avenue, off the Turnpike exit of the 101 Freeway. Another shelter has been set up at Manning Park on San Ysidro Rd. in Montecito.

People evacuating to shelters who have animals needing to be housed should call (805) 681-4332.

Small animals can be taken to the Humane Society on Patterson Ave., or at a location on Overpass Rd. in Goleta.

Large animals can be taken to Gate C at Earl Warren Showgrounds.

Westmont College students who were still on campus have been moved to a fireproof concrete building with provisions for 1,200 people. Classes have been canceled for the day.

Santa Barbara County has set up an emergency operations center at the County Administration building at Anacapa and Anapamu streets.

A reverse-911 call was issued to all residents living in the Montecito/Santa Barbara foothills area.

EVACUATION ORDERS

North of 192 between Hot Springs Rd and Cheltenham

All of Sycamore Canyon

North of 192 between Sycamore Canyon and Gibraltar Rd

Sycamore Cyn at Eucalyptus Hill, South to Salinas to 5 Points

East - Hot Springs Road
West - Tunnel Road to Mission Canyon
North - East Camino Cielo
South - Alameda Padre Serra from Mission Canyon to the turnaround at Five Points, Barker Pass Road between the Five Points and Highway 192, and Highway 192 from Barker Pass Road to Hot Springs Road


Santa Barbara County Emergency Operations Center: (805) 696-1163

Evacuation Call Center: (805) 681-5197



EVACUATION WARNINGS

South of 192 between Hot Springs and Sycamore Canyon.
Evacuation Center is located at San Marcos High School: 4750 Hollister Ave, Goleta.
For information regarding the evacuation center, please call (805) 687-1331.
An information Call Center has been established for the public to call: (805) 681-5197.
Tune to AM 1680 for more information.

The area east of Hot Springs Road and West of San Ysidro Road and North of East Valley Road.
The area east of Ontare Road and West of Tunnel Road and North of Foothill Road.
The area bounded on the North by Alameda Padre Serra, on the East by Montecito Street to Milpas, Milpas to Anapamu, Anapamu to Laguna, Laguna to Los Olivos, and Los Olivos to Alameda Padre Serra.

SCHOOL CLOSURES Marymount of Santa Barbara
Cleveland Elementary School
Cold Springs Elementary School
Laguna Blanca Lower Campus
Notre Dame School
All Saints By The Sea Parish
El Montecito School
Star King Parent Child Workshop, Continuing Education
Providence Hall High School
Anacapa School
Montecito Union School District
The Montecito Family YMCA Preschool and Afterschool
Bishop García Diego High School
San Roque Middle School & High School

ROAD CLOSURES

Hot Springs Rd. at Hwy 192 at Mountain Dr.
Para Grande at Hwy 192
Barker Pass at Eucalyptus Ln.
Hwy 192 at Cheltenhan, Tye & GlenAlbin
East Camino Cielo at Painted Cave
Hwy 192 at Mission Canyon to eastbound traffic
Gibraltar Rd. to Painted Cave
Gibraltar Rd. to Mountain Dr.
Alameda Padre Serra to Mission Canyon to Camino Cielo
Sycamore Canyon at Hwy 192
San Ysidro Rd (HARD CLOSURE)
Ashley Road at Hwy 192
Mission Canyon at Foothill
Camino Cielo at Painted Cave

DONATION INFORMATION

On Saturday, November 16, the Unity Shop in Santa Barbara will be accepting clothing and household item donations for those affected by the Tea Fire. If you wish to make a donation, please call (805) 886-3323 or (805) 965-4122 x301 before bringing items for details on how to donate



Stay with abc7.com for further details.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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