Thousands of firefighters battled the Thomas brush fire as extreme wind conditions tried to push the blaze southwest into Montecito and Santa Barbara Saturday, and they were able to keep the flames from spreading to potentially thousands of homes.
Strong winds led to a flareup Saturday morning, prompting an estimated 16,000 mandatory evacuations in an area stretching from Summerland to Highway 154. The normally busy Montecito Village area became a ghost town, because it was part of the evacuation zone.
Firefighters battled the fire as embers started spot fires in the foothills of Montecito and Santa Barbara. Perhaps the biggest flareup was near Coyote Road, overlooking Parma Park.
It's unknown if any homes were lost, but firefighters were able to keep the embers from spreading to neighborhoods. By 7 p.m., the winds had subsided and firefighters were mopping up most of the spot fires.
The fire has now burned 267,000 acres, and is 40% contained. The weather forecast calls for calmer wind conditions for Santa Barbara County Sunday, but potential Santa Ana Winds in Ventura County