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Evacuation orders lifted in Santa Barbara County brush fire

Firefighters at Lookout fire

Mandatory evacuation orders affecting about 40 homes were lifted Wednesday evening as firefighters continued to battle a brush fire in Santa Barbara County that at one point threatened about 100 homes.

Containment of the Lookout fire, which broke out about 7:45 a.m. near California 154 and Painted Cave Road, remained about 45% at 7 p.m., though it had grown to 20 to 25 acres, Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. David Sadecki said.

No structures had been lost or damaged, but one firefighter suffered a minor leg injury, Sadecki said. The evacuation orders were lifted at 5 p.m., he said.

PHOTOS: Fire hits Santa Barbara County

The blaze burned through steep, rugged terrain, which made it difficult for firefighters to get near the blaze, Sadecki said. Officials said about 250 fire personnel were on the scene. Several agencies from Santa Barbara County and the U.S. Forest Service were on hand, along with seven air tankers and seven helicopters.

Temperatures in the mid-80s and breezy conditions that were expected to intensify later in the day never materialized, fire officials said.

“There’s no wind at all, which is a good thing,” Sadecki said Wednesday evening.

Downed power lines were found in the area, but Sadecki said investigators do not believe they sparked the fire. The cause of the blaze remained unclear late Wednesday, and Sadecki said the investigation was called off as of about 4 p.m. It will resume Thursday morning, he said.

The Painted Cave area was the site of a devastating arson fire in 1990 that killed a 37-year-old woman. That $250-million fire burned 427 homes and 11 other buildings in about two hours.

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-- Matt Stevens and Kate Mather

Photo: Firefighters work to safeguard a home from the Lookout fire. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

 
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