80 Homes Burn in Hills Over Santa Barbara

Blaze overwhelms firefighters in enclave of the rich and famous
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2008 3:19 AM CST

(Newser) – A wildfire ripped through the wealthy enclave of Montecito in Santa Barbara County last night, destroying some 80 homes, the Los Angeles Times reports. Firefighters were overwhelmed as the wind-driven brushfire spread out of control. Much of the area, home to dozens of celebrities, was evacuated as the blazes spread toward the city of Santa Barbara and firefighters scrambled to stop it.

Close to 1,000 firefighters were battling to control the still-raging blazes. "I have so many concerns," said the operation chief for the Montecito Fire Department. "It's moving so fast right now. We're having trouble rounding up enough resources." One resident packing to flee said the fire above her neighborhood "looked like lava coming down a volcano."