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Thomas Fire crews prepare for possible wind event Wednesday - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Thomas Fire crews prepare for possible wind event Wednesday

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After several days of good progress, fire crews are preparing for what could be a set back Wednesday.

Weather conditions are not expected to be on their side.

In the steep terrain near East Camino Cielo, Santa Barbara County firefighters haul heavy equipment as they extinguish hot spots.

In the air, a sky crane makes a water drop.

"It's been clear enough air that we got to fly this morning and take a look around," said Battalion Chief Chris Childers with Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Fire officials say Montecito will continue to be an area of concern into Wednesday.

La Casa De Maria Retreat and Conference Center is in one of the neighborhoods still under evacuation orders.

"We had an order to evacuate last Sunday. We were ready, cleared everything out, but we've been tense hoping everything would be okay," said director Steve Jacobsen.

Jacobsen says firefighters' hard work is the reason his business is still standing.

A maintenance worker also stayed on the property to water down any embers that flew their way.

"He described these walls of flames, he couldn't believe they (firefighters) could turn it back, but they did. It's just crazy how intense it was," Jacobsen said.

Fire officials hope for similar success Wednesday.

In preparation, helicopters seek out hot spots for the ground crews to cool down in what's called a seek and destroy mission.

Crews will continue to secure the area between Gibraltar Road and Montecito, improving the fire perimeter.

"We hope to survive and go through the wind event tomorrow night. We think we will, and if we do we will be seriously downgrading the size of the Santa Barbara branch," said Battalion Chief Childers.

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