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Firefighters hurt in Santa Barbara fire

Governor declares state of emergency in Santa Barbara County
May 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A wildfire burning in the foothills above Santa Barbara is threatening about 2,000 homes and has burned about 500 acres on Wednesday. Approximately 2,000 homes have been evacuated, amounting to more than 8,000 people. Some homes have burned, but it was not clear how many.Wednesday afternoon, winds were blowing up to 24 miles per hour, with gusts up to 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service. After sundown, winds were down to 25 mph, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Dept. Captain David Sadecki.

MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDERS:

  • Morada Lane (western boundary) and Ontare North to Camino Cielo
  • Foothill Road and Morada to San Roque
  • San Roque south to State Street (western boundary)
  • State Street to Micheltorena
  • Micheltorena north to the end of the road, extending to Alameda Padre Serra
  • Alameda Padre Serra east to Sycamore Canyon Road (eastern boundary)
  • North on Sycamore Canyon to Hwy 192 West to El Cielito
  • Coyote Rd. (eastern boundary) south to Sycamore Canyon Rd.
  • La Cumbre Rd. (western boundary) North to East Camino Cielo
  • All locations north of Highway 192 / Foothill Road from Morada Lane and Ontare Road to El Cielito Road / Gibralter Road to East Camino Cielo.
EVACUATION WARNINGS:
  • La Cumbre Road (western boundary) to State Street
  • State St. to De La Vina
  • De La Vina to Anapamu
  • Anapamu to Anacapa
  • Anacapa south to De La Guerra
  • De La Guerra to Milpas
  • Milpas to Montecito St.
  • Montecito St. to Alameda Padre Serra

Link: 'Jesusita Fire' Santa Barbara area road closures

Fire info from Santa Barbara County

Evacuation center: Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta. The Red Cross moved its shelter from First Presbyterian Church on Constance Rd. in Santa Barbara to Dos Pueblos.

Residents with large animals can go to the Earl Warren Showgrounds. The Santa Barbara Humane Society at Overpass Road and Patterson Avenue is no longer taking small animals. Call the Animal Services hotline at (805) 681-4332 to be directed to a shelter location.

For more information on animal evacuations, call (805) 682-4332. American Red Cross can be reached at (800) 951-5600.

SCHOOL CLOSURES, May 7, 2009:

  • Adams
  • California Learning Center
  • Cesar Chavez Charter
  • Cleveland Elementary
  • Cold Spring School
  • Community Based School
  • Early Years at SBHS
  • El Montecito School on East Canon Perdido Street
  • El Puente School
  • First Presbyterian Child Care Center
  • Franklin Elementary
  • Hope School Elementary
  • Kumon of Santa Barbara
  • La Colina Junior High
  • Little Angels Pre-school
  • Marymount School
  • Monte Vista Elementary
  • Monte Vista Home School SB
  • Notre Dame
  • Olive Grove Charter School on Micheltorena Street
  • Open Alternative
  • Parma Children's Center
  • Peabody Charter
  • Roosevelt Elementary
  • San Roque
  • Santa Barbara High School
  • Santa Barbara Middle School
  • Sunrise Montessori

There is currently zero containment of the fire. Approximately 1,300 firefighters were battling the blaze Thursday morning. Six fixed-wing aircraft and five helicopters are also part of the engagement.

At least three firefighters have been injured. Thre three arrived by helicopter at Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks. The firefighters were from the Ventura County Fire Dept. The three had been overrun by flames earlier Wednesday.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County Wednesday as a result of the wildfire.

The fire has burned approximately 500 acres.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Santa Barbara Municipal Airport reported a record-high temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit Wednesday. The old record of 86 degrees was sent in 1991.

Firefighters worked throughout the night on the ground and in the air after the fire started Tuesday at about 1:30 p.m. in the San Roque Canyon.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the fire is being fought mostly from the air because there are no roads leading up to where the fire is currently burning.

Officials said there's a lot of moisture in the brush, which is helping slow the burn. According to locals, the brush hasn't burned in more than 40 years.

"We haven't had a fire in this canyon since 1964, so we're due," said Kathleen Galbraith, a Santa Barbara resident. "We always have everything at the ready to load up all the animals, and we have a sprinkler hooked up to the well to make sure we have it on the house, and then we leave."

Hundreds of people have had to pack up at a moment's notice and get out, leaving their homes and most of their possessions behind.

"Our car is packed, our friends have already taken most of our photos and paintings away a couple of hours ago, so we're feeling pretty good right now," said Santa Barbara resident Laura Smith.

A few residents are ignoring the mandatory evacuations, saying they're aware of the danger and will leave when the fire gets closer.

"I do know we won't be able to get back in, and if there's not a lot of danger, we're going to be stuck out there away from the house," said resident Laura Weidl.

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