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Safety Measure May Have Sparked Santa Barbara Wildfire

Above: Fire approaches a neighborhood in Santa Barbara County.

— A wildfire that destroyed dozens of homes is 70 percent contained and firefighters are mopping up hot spots before nightfall when moderate winds are predicted.

Fire officials released updated figures early Monday, saying the 13-square-mile blaze had destroyed 77 homes, damaged 22 others and cost $10.8 million to fight. Twenty-eight firefighters have been injured.

Several days of cool, calm weather have aided firefighters but winds of 15 to 25 mph could cause minor flareups.

About 30,000 people were forced from their homes last week because of the fire. As of early Monday, only about 362 people remained out of 145 homes.

Authorities say sparks from a power tool used to clear brush apparently ignited the blaze last Tuesday.

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