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Wind Eases In Santa Barbara County, But Could Add To Thomas Fire Concerns In Ventura County

Fire burning near Coyote Road Saturday

The weather is once again expected to be the key element in efforts to control the massive Thomas brushfire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

The wind which caused major flareups Saturday on the west end of the fire in Santa Barbara County has eased, but Santa Ana winds are in the forecast for Ventura County for Sunday.

Thousands of firefighters battled the fire as extreme wind conditions tried to push the blaze southwest into Montecito and Santa Barbara. They were able to keep the flames from spreading to potentially thousands of homes.

The flareups prompted an estimated 16,000 mandatory evacuations in an area north of Highway 101 stretching from Summerland to Highway 154. Downtown Santa Barbara and the Montecito Village area became ghost towns because of the fire. Firefighters battled the fire as embers started spot fires in the foothills of Montecito and Santa Barbara.

Perhaps the biggest flareup was near Coyote Road, overlooking Parma Park. By 7 p.m., the winds had subsided and firefighters were mopping up spot fires. The fire has now burned 267,000 acres, and is 40% contained.

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