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Firefighters halt dangerous fire threatening TV station, homes in Santa Barbara


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    SANTA BARBARA (KCAL, KCBS) — Firefighters got a fast-moving brush fire under control which threatened a television station and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes in Santa Barbara Thursday evening.

The Loma Fire had burned 10 acres and was 50% contained as of early Friday morning, according to the Santa Barbara Fire Department. Evacuation orders were lifted and forward progress on the fire was halted.

At least one home and an outbuilding were damaged.

The Loma Fire broke out before 8:50 p.m. in steep terrain near the 600 block of West Ortega Street. Flames were visible from downtown Santa Barbara.

Within about 30 minutes, the wind-whipped blaze had burned up the same hill on which the headquarters of KEYT-TV, the CBS and ABC CBS-affiliated television station in Santa Barbara, is located, along with hundreds of homes. Winds were gusting at up to 50 miles per hour, according to firefighters.

About 50 homes were threatened at the height of the fire, the SBCFD reported. A large home on Via del Cielo was damaged, with embers getting into the home’s kitchen, the fire department said.

Residents of dozens of homes were evacuated. Ryan Fish of KEYT tweeted that TV crews were safely evacuated as well.

The evacuees were directed to Ledbetter Beach. However a little after midnight Friday, crews got a handle on the blaze, and by 12:30 a.m., the evacuations were lifted and residents were allowed to return home.

There were no reported injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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