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Firefighters work to protect homes in the path of the Thomas Fir - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Firefighters work to protect homes in the path of the Thomas Fire

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Fire crews are doing all they can to protect homes in the path of the Thomas Fire. 

Engines were staged throughout the eastern area of Carpinteria on Sunday, keeping an extra watchful eye on the fire. 

"We have fire resources staged along the road protecting homes in the event that the fire moves down the canyon and actually has an impact in this area," explained La Habra Heights Fire Department Captain Rick McClure.

At around 1 a.m. Sunday morning, homes along Shepard Mesa Drive were evacuated as the fire made a run uphill.

"Those flames were advancing, there was easily 50-foot flame lengths coming up towards them as it started to torch some of these taller trees," said Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department Public Information Officer.

At least one home was engulfed in the flames, but during their fight, crews were able to protect most of the houses there.

"The fire was literally a few, maybe a few dozen feet from some of these homes as these flames approached and they were able to knock down that fire, knock down those flames and save some of those homes," Eliason said. 

A lot of the homes along Shepard Mesa Drive are on acreage. Fire officials say, if a home doesn't have defensible space and it isn't safe for them to defend, they will move on to the house that is easier to defend. 

Despite the efforts of firefighters, and significant work by air attack on Sunday, evacuation zones keep expanding.
 
"We're fortunate for both of these times we're getting enough warning," said Gavin and Miki Takase-Sanchez. 

The couple originally evacuated from Ojai and thought they would be safe in Montecito, but on Sunday they found themselves packing up and gassing up again. 

"Five chickens, four dogs, one cat, three vehicles, my wife, my mother-in-law," Gavin said.

As they prepared to leave, sheriff's deputies went door-to-door in the couple's neighborhood to make sure people were heading the evacuation orders.

Fire officials say this fire has been unpredictable and fast-moving, so they're asking residents in the southern Santa Barbara County area to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. Fire managers say they're hoping to maximize the use of aircraft in the coming days if Mother Nature cooperates. Their goal is to hold the fire on the ridges above Montecito. 

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