Santa Barbara Wildfire 95% Contained

May 15, 2009

A 8,733-acre fire that destroyed 80 homes and forced 30,500 people from their homes in Santa Barbara, Calif., was reported 95 percent contained on May 15.

The last mandatory evacuation orders associated with the Jesusita Fire were lifted May 14 after an overnight round of winds that gusted up to 65 mph caused no problems.

“The firebreaks were wind-tested and survived,” said William Boyer, spokesman for Santa Barbara County. “Everything is OK.”

Firefighters had feared the winds would push remnants of the fire into an area northeast of the city and threaten 45 properties. The National Weather Service said the winds calmed down by 7 a.m.

Fire Capt. David Sadecki said only a few hotspots remained but the last percent would be difficult to contain because of the steepness of the terrain in the Santa Ynez Mountains.

The lifted mandatory evacuation order affected about 100 residents, the last of 30,500 forced from their homes at the height of the 11-day-old blaze. Authorities also lifted all evacuation warnings, a lesser alert that allows people to remain in homes but be ready to leave.

The fire started on May 5 and over several days was fanned by the area’s notorious “sundowner” winds. Flames destroyed 80 homes, damaged 15 and injured 29 firefighters. The fire was then suppressed by days of calm, foggy weather.

Topics Catastrophe Natural Disasters Wildfire

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.