Wildfire outside Santa Barbara, California, threatens homes, causes evacuations
SANTA BARBARA, Calif (Reuters) - Fire ripped through brush and woodland on hills above Santa Barbara, California, early on Tuesday, causing authorities to order more than 2,000 residents of a nearby canyon to flee their homes, according to officials and local media. The Cave Fire started in the Los Padres National Forest at around 4:15 p.m. on Monday in Santa Barbara County, about 90 miles (145 km) northwest of Los Angeles. County officials declared a local emergency. The fire had consumed some 4,100 acres (1,660 hectares) by Tuesday morning, with none of it contained, Daniel Bertucelli of the county fire department told reporters. Nine helicopters were dropping water to aid 600 firefighters, who were bracing for rainy conditions later in the day, he said. Mandatory evacuation orders covered some 2,400 homes, the Los Angeles Times reported. A single outbuilding was the only property damaged recorded by Tuesday morning, Bertucelli said, though flames were pushing towards populated areas on the northern flanks of the coastal cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta. Firefighters from neighbouring areas were rushing to Santa Barbara to help the local service control the blaze, authorities said. Nearly 200,000 acres (80,937 hectares) have been consumed in wildfires across the state this year, according to the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection.