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Jesusita Fire 95 percent contained

By   /   Tuesday, May 5th, 2009  /   Comments Off on Jesusita Fire 95 percent contained

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The Jesusita Fire, which has burned more than 13 square miles, is 95 percent contained, officials announced May 15. All evacuation orders and warnings have been lifted.

Fire investigators announced May 10 that power tool equipment used to clear vegetation likely sparked the blaze May 5.

Officials have confirmed that the fire destroyed 80 homes and 79 outbuildings in the Santa Barbara foothills. It damaged another 15 homes and two outbuildings in the area.

Investigators are requesting public assistance with identifying anyone who may have been clearing vegetation near the Jesusita Trail May 4 or May 5 between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Those with information can call the tip line at (805) 686-5061.

As of May 15, 30 firefighters had been injured while battling the fire. At its peak, more than 4,500 personnel were helping control the Jesusita Fire. As of May 14, 1,857 remained to control the last of the flames.

The estimated cost of fire stands at $17 million.

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, located in the Mission Canyon area, sustained major fire damage and is closed until further notice.

On May 8, Westmont College was ordered to evacuate for the second time in six months. In November, the Tea Fire scorched several parts of campus and burned down several of its structures. On May 10, students were allowed back on campus, as the evacuation orders were lifted.

To view the most up-to-date evacuation orders and warnings, visit www.countyofsb.org.

This story was updated at 9:28 a.m. PST on May 14. See the Business Times May 15 paper for full coverage and photos of the fire.

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