Twin Wildfires Ravage LA Area

Over 100 homes ruined in Montecito; 1,500 still at risk
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 15, 2008 8:40 AM CST
Damaged murals are seen in the ruins of the Mount Calvary Monastery in Santa Barbara, Calif., totally destroyed after a wildfire.    (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
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(Newser) – The wildfire in California’s wealthy Montecito area calmed down yesterday, but not before destroying 111 homes, the Los Angeles Times reports; and a new blaze roared overnight in Sylmar, where 5,000 were evacuated, CNN notes. Firefighters warned that 1,500 homes were still endangered by the as-yet-uncontained Montecito fire, which ate up 1,800 acres, the state’s forestry department said.

Some 500 firefighters attacked the Sylmar blaze, propelled by powerful winds. Meanwhile, the Montecito wildfire’s relatively small size didn’t temper its force. A few injuries were reported, and a 98-year-old man died after being evacuated. “Embers were raining down, they were in our hair, they were in our shirts,” said actor and local Rob Lowe. “It was absolutely Armageddon.” The fire’s cause wasn’t known.