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Santa Barbara County brush fire 75% contained

October 18, 2012 |  7:19 am

Crews made progress on a slow-moving brush fire in Santa Barbara County overnight, constructing control lines and nearly doubling the containment to 75%, officials said.

Burning above Santa Barbara near Highway 154 and Painted Cave Road, the Lookout fire held to about 20 to 25 acres overnight, Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. David Sadecki said. About 150 firefighters battled the blaze overnight — a "pretty dangerous" task, Sadecki said, given the darkness and steep terrain in the area.

The fire broke out about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday.

PHOTOS: Fire hits Santa Barbara County

The plan for Thursday is to finish control lines and prevent the fire from growing, Sadecki said. Officials would also continue their investigation into what sparked the fire — downed power lines were found in the area, but Sadecki said investigators do not believe they were to blame.

Crews will continue to watch for winds during Thursday's firefight. Breezy conditions were expected to intensify the flames on Wednesday but never materialized, and Sadecki said erratic winds remained the "primary concern."

At its height, the fire threatened about 100 homes and forced the evacuation of 40, Sadecki said. The mandatory evacuations were lifted by Wednesday evening, and Sadecki said no structures have been lost.

One firefighter suffered a minor leg injury Wednesday. No other injuries were reported.

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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-- Kate Mather

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