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May-07-2009 12:57printcommentsVideo

Jesusita Fire Near Santa Barbara Forces Thousands of Evacuations (VIDEO)

The fire is in Red Flag Warning stage, and 90 degree plus temperatures are expected this afternoon along with continuing wind.

Jesusita Fire north of Santa Barbara, Calif.
Jesusita Fire north of Santa Barbara, Calif.
AP Photo/Dan Steinberg courtesy: Accuweather.com

(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) - Extremely dry and windy conditions are fueling the Jesusita Fire north of Santa Barbara, California. It marks an early entry for the wildfire season in a state that saw severe damage and loss of life due to wildfires last year.

Accuweather.com Weather Meteorologist Andrew Ulrich says wildfires may become more frequent and intense in the years to come.

So far the Jesusita Fire has forced the evacuation of more than 13,000 homes. The residents of another 13,000 homes are on evacuation standby.

As of this morning, the fire is burning out of control, Ulrich said.

"At least 20 homes burned in the northern neighborhoods of Santa Barbara as winds pushed the flames from house to house. Winds are expected to be strong through Friday with gusts over 50 mph."

The evacuations have affected at least 5,400 residents of Santa Barbara County so far, as wildfires rage through neighborhoods, reducing huge mansions to rubble along with the area's more modest homes.

A captain with Santa Barbara Fire told TV reporters that it has has been "quite a difficult fire to fight".

The captain called it an erratic fire, adding that the particular factor is what has caused so many homes to be lost.

"It has been a really tough fire to take on," he said.

The fire is in Red Flag Warning stage, and 90 degree plus temperatures are expected this afternoon along with continuing wind.

Weather experts believe the impact from the smoke will soon reach most of the Los Angeles basin.

=====Videos on the Jesusita Fire north of Santa Barbara=====

The fire that started Tuesday had been relatively quiet and then roared back into life as sundowner winds reached 40-60 mph late Wednesday afternoon. Over 20 homes had burned by nightfall. This highly visual clip was posted by YouTube user SMSNEWS:

In this video posted by YouTube user SBARTSTV, California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger shows his support to the firefighters and people of Santa Barbara who are faced with the Jesusita Fire. This Santa Barbara Press Conference with Gov. Schwarzenegger was held today, May 7 2009:

YouTube user cizne20 shot this video 5-6-09 around 4:23 p.m. shows the developing Jesusita Fire:

In this video, the Jesusita Fire near Santa Barbara, California is seen 5-5-09. Video by Jack Kimball / Noozhawk video:


Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several other awards including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
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Blank May 7, 2009 3:10 pm (Pacific time)

It IS or it is NOT in red flag warning stage? ...


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