Weather slows wildfire's march


The fog has helped the fire to lay down," Chris Hahn, Santa Barbara County deputy fire chief, said at a morning news conference. "Overnight, fire activity has been fairly inactive actually because of this."

The fire has scorched about 8,700 acres since Tuesday, destroying or damaging 80 homes, he said.

The weather predictions for Saturday were promising. Are wildfires affecting you?

"The temperatures are going to be lower, humidity is going to be higher, and the winds are going to be diminished. So that's good news," Hahn said. Watch why the battle is far from over »

"However, just because the weather is better doesn't mean we're out of the woods. The weather tends to be a little fickle around here."

Firefighters had hoped for cooler weather and lower winds on Thursday night, but the direction of the winds flipped, blowing the fire toward the mansions and other homes that dot the hills of the coastal community.

The winds that began blowing around sundown Thursday topped 50 mph.

About 30,500 people in Santa Barbara County have been evacuated because of the fire, and at least 23,000 more are in an "evacuation warning" area.

More than 12,200 homes or businesses are in the mandatory evacuation area.

"We're doing everything we can to get people back into their homes," Hahn said. "One of the major priorities is getting people back in. But the thing that trumps that is their safety, and that is what we are working on right now."

Thirteen firefighters have been injured, Hahn said.

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