13K Flee as Calif. Fire Rages

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2009 3:05 PM CDT
The Jesusita fire burns in the foothills above Santa Barbara.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – 13,575 people have fled their homes as a wildfire that has consumed 1,300 acres rages in Santa Barbara, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reports. Another 13,000 are on alert, Bloomberg adds. Officials are unsure how many homes have been destroyed, but it’s in the “dozens.” “Today is another day of concern,” a fireman said. “It could be a mirror image of yesterday,” when high winds caused the blaze to spread.

Residents were philosophical about the damage. “We’ve been in the house 15 years, and we wanted to get rid of the carpet,” said one. “We finally did.” Another homeowner realized his life’s focus was off when he lost his house. “I suddenly remembered I don’t care about things,” he said. “I care about people.” But one man, whose house is still standing, took another view. “The damn firefighters were no help.”