Updated Nov 26, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Wind-driven wildfire threatens Santa Barbara County

The Cave fire burns a hillside above houses in Santa Barbara

The Cave Fire burns a hillside above houses in Santa Barbara on Nov. 26. Photo: Kyle Grillot/AFP via Getty Images

A wind-driven wildfire burning north of Santa Barbara, California, forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes and threatened thousands more homes, AP reports.

What's happening: Santa Barbara County residents hope an approaching storm could help extinguish the flames of the Cave Fire, per AP, which notes 4,000 of the almost 5,500 evacuees were told Tuesday they could return home after authorities reduced the evacuation zone size. The blaze burned 4,300 acres and was 10% contained Tuesday evening, Santa Barbara County fire spokesman Mike Eliason tweeted.

  • No homes have been lost and no injuries reported from the wildfire, which was first reported on Monday afternoon in the Los Padres National Forest, Eliason said earlier Tuesday.

What they're saying: The National Weather Service forecast rain by late Tuesday. However, that anticipated low pressure system could pose hazards problems such as shifting winds to debris flows, firefighters were told, AP notes.

The big picture: A deluge on burned slopes east of Santa Barbara in Jan. 2018 resulted in debris flows that devastated the Montecito community, wrecking homes and killing 23 people.

  • Last month, a state of emergency was declared in California as a series of wildfires devastated communities both in the northern and southern regions of the state.
  • The Southern California Geographic Area Coordination Center warned in a report this month that the state could continue to endure wildfires through December.

Go deeper: In photos: Dramatic scenes from California's wildfires

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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