Calif. Fires Destroy Dozens of Homes

Santa Barbara under state of emergency as wildfires scorch hillsides
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2009 2:21 AM CDT
Wildfires burn structures and hillsides in Santa Barbara, Calif., yesterday.   (AP Photo/John Lazar)
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(Newser) – Raging wildfires in the hills above Santa Barbara have destroyed at least 20 homes and are threatening many more, reports the Los Angeles Times. Some 900 firefighters are battling the wind-driven fires, but are hampered by poor access to the area. Three were hospitalized with burns after flames engulfed their truck.

"We are in a state of extreme emergency,'' said a spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. "We're running very, very thin." A state of emergency has been declared in the county and the mandatory evacuation area has been doubled in size, forcing 8000 people from their homes. Forecasters warn that the fires could take several more days to get under control.