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Thomas Fire crews stand by as 'big test' of wind pushes through - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Thomas Fire crews stand by as 'big test' of wind pushes through

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Fire officials battling the Thomas Fire have described Wednesday night as "the big test," hoping their fire lines and hard work will hold amid the wind.

Meanwhile, neighbors are coming back to Coast Village Road in Montecito, which has been somewhat of a ghost town.

"Knowing that everyone is really hurting for the holidays, we thought we'd come get some dinner and try to support the local businesses that are trying to get back to work," said Fran Bridge, a Carpinteria resident.

After evacuating several days ago, Fran is happy to be home.

"Glad to have finally gotten a Christmas tree. That took two weeks longer than expected," said Bridge.

Another 16,000 people are still under evacuation orders in case weather conditions bring bad luck.

"Tonight is the big test, but it seems like they're going to pass it and we will be out from under all the evacuation order tomorrow," said Bridge. "Fingers crossed."

"I feel the wind now, I felt it earlier a lot at my office. The awnings seemed like they were going to come off, but as it got darker, the moon was out, lots of stars, I haven't seen any signs of fire. I'm pretty happy about that," said Teri Malinowski.

Hundreds of fire crews have replaced the residents in the hillsides of Santa Barbara and Montecito for the time being, ready to take action.

"Crews are alert. We still have lookouts posted, we still have crews flying the fire with infrared technology to pick up hot spots and new spots over the line so we can adjust resources should that occur," said Amber Anderson, a Thomas Fire public information officer.

The goal is to get everyone home for the holidays.

"We have faith in the work that we have done. We've been working 24 hour days nonstop to make sure we can get people home for the holidays and get this fire contained and under wraps," said Anderson.

Because conditions can change so quickly, officials ask that Santa Barbara and Montecito residents keep their phones charged so they can receive any emergency alerts.

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