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Evacuation Orders Lifted For Brush Fire Burn Areas In Santa Barbara County; Thousands Can Go Home

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(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)
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Firefighters look at a bridge over Arroyo Paredon Creek Friday morning. It was damaged in the January 9th storm, but came through the Thursday/Friday night storm without problems.

The Central and South Coasts escaped another major disaster in the form of a winter storm passing through the region.

There was locally heavy rainfall at times, but no major problems were reported in the region’s burn zones, especially in the hard hit Montecito area.  Mandatory evacuation orders for Santa Barbara County's Thomas, Whittier, and Sherpa burn areas were liefted at nine Friday morning.  Voluntary  evacuation orders for some Thomas Fire burn areas in Ventura County were canceled at 7 a.m. Friday.

Rainfall amounts hit three inches as expected in some of the region’s mountains, while the totals are in the half to three quarters of an inch range in many coastal areas.

Highway 101 remained open throughout Thursday night and Friday morning.   Highway 33 was closed north of Ojai, but it is expected to reopen late friday.

The storm moved through the area slower than expected.  It was originally predicted to peak in Santa Barbara around midnight, but some of the heaviest rain came around two to four a.m. 

Public safety officials said the forecast was at the bottom end of the scale for evacuations, but after 23 people died in the January 9th flooding in Montecito, they didn’t want to take chances.

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