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Brush Fire In Santa Barbara County Stands At 70% Containment

Some of the burn area from the Cave Fire on San Marcos Pass

A brush fire which forced thousands of evacuations in Santa Barbara County this week is now 70% contained.  The 3100 Cave Fire burning off of Highway 154 in San Marcos Pass started Monday afternoon, and wind quickly whipped it out of control.  But, firefighters were able to step up and protect homes, and none were ultimately destroyed.

About 4,000 of the 5,000 evacuees were able to return home on Tuesday, with the remaining being allowed back on Wednesday.  Firefighting efforts got a big boost on Wednesday, when a storm dropped more than an inch of rain in the burn area.  There was no large scale flame or smoke visible Wednesday morning.

There was even some snow at the higher elevations of the burn area early Thanksgiving Day.  Firefighters are now focused on looking for isolated smoldering spots.  

The 70% containment figure was issued on Thanksgiving Day, and fire officials haven't updated it since.  No one was reported injured.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.