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Public Safety

Safety Measure May Have Sparked Santa Barbara Wildfire

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.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.