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May 8, 2009
More homes evacuated in Jesusita fire
SSANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) -- Firefighters struggled Friday to get ahead of a raging wildfire that has moved dangerously close to heavily populated areas around this idyllic coastal city and forced the evacuation of an roughly 30,000 people. Mobile home parks and neighborhoods of multimillion-dollar mansions were like ghost towns, bathed in the eerie orange glow of the growing blaze as billows of smoke wafted over the blackened mountains. Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Jodi Dyck said the fire had grown since Thursday night, when it measured roughly 2,700 acres, or 4 square miles. But she did not have precise estimates of the size of the charred areas. Conditions for fighting the fire were not expected to improve Friday, with weather forecasts calling for low humidity, wind gusts that could reach 65 mph and temperatures that could top 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. (12 images)

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Flames tower over a home in the Bargeer Canyon area in the hills above Santa Barbara, Calif. Thursday May 7. State officials said the latest fire grew from 1,300 acres to more than 2,700 acres _ roughly 4 square miles. Los Angeles Times/ Mark Boster


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A surfer walks along the sand under heavy smoke from the Jesusita fire at Butterfly Beach on May 7, in Montecito, just south of Santa Barbara, Calif. Firefighters are experiencing a setback as the out-of-control wildfire is making a run to the west. Santa Barbara is suffering its third major wildfire to burn homes in less than a year. Getty Images / David McNew



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A firefighting aircraft drops retardant on the flames burning over a ridge into Rattlesnake Canyon near Santa Barbara, Calif., Thursday, May 7. The fire remained out of control and firefighters were on alert for a predicted return of a "Sundowner" fierce winds that late in the day can sweep down from the Santa Ynez Mountains towering close behind Santa Barbara. AP / Chris Carlson



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Nancy Cook, right, and Chris Anderson pass the historic Santa Barbara Mission on May 7, in Santa Barbara, Calif. Cook was evacuated from her home on Puesta Del Sol Road but returned to pick up family heirlooms and a business suit for a job interview on Monday. Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian



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Firefighers standing at the edge of a home look at the out of control wildfire as it approaches homes in the Jesusita Fire on May 7, in the foothills above Santa Barbara, Calif. The fire's increasing strength prompted officials to order 6,000 more people to evacuate late Thursday bringing the total evacuees at 18,000. The blaze was approaching homes in the city's more populated, flat area below its steep canyons. Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian



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A firefighter works to put out a spot fire near Santa Barbara, Calif., Thursday, May 7. AP / Chris Carlson



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U.S. Forest Service firefighter Mike Espinoza is surrounded by flying embers as erratic winds blow the Jesusita wildfire towards homes along Northridge Road in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Thursday, May 7. AP / Eric Parsons



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A firefighters prepare to make a stand as the sun sets over Rattlesnake Canyon near Santa Barbara, Calif., Thursday, May 7. AP / Chris Carlson



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Flames threaten luxury homes at the Jesusita fire in Santa Barbara, Calif. on May 7. The wind-driven wildfire has destroyed more than 30 homes and forced the evacuation of thousands of area residents. AFP/ Getty Images / Robyn Beck



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A firefighters from the city of San Bernardino is silhouetted by light from a fire truck as he sprays around a home threatened by flames approaching Santa Teresita Drive as the Jesusita fire burns in Santa Barbara, Calif., Thursday evening, May 7. AP / Reed Saxon



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A firefighting helicopter prepares to drop water on flames burning over a ridge into Rattlesnake Canyon near Santa Barbara, Calif., Thursday, May 7. AP / Chris Carlson



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Robyn Richard, center, and Ana Pierpont, center left, seniors at University of California at Santa Barbara, serve home made cupcakes to Los Angeles City Firefighters at the Santa Barbara Mission as Jesusita Fire continues to burn on May 7, in the hills above Santa Barbara, Calif. Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian



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