Weather Gives CA Firefighters the Edge

"SANTA BARBARA -- Thousands of Santa Barbara residents are being allowed to return home as low winds and dramatically cooler temperatures have given firefighters the upper hand in their assault on the 6-day-old Jesusita fire, which stretches for five miles.

Erratic winds and high temperatures last week had stoked the blaze and led officials to order the evacuation of 30,500 people in an enormous swath of the city. All but 350 people are going to be allowed to return home today, said Cmdr. Darin Fotheringham of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.
 
Firefighters said the fire was about 55% contained this morning and -- with no predictions today for the sundowner winds that had driven embers down the canyons -- could be fully contained by Wednesday. The fire has scorched 8,700 acres, destroyed 31 homes and damaged 47 others."

Ann M. Simmons and Esmeralda Bermudez report for the Los Angeles Times May 10, 2009.
 

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Source: LA Times, 05/10/2009