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With Thomas Fire evacuation orders lifted, animals released from - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

With Thomas Fire evacuation orders lifted, animals released from Earl Warren Showgrounds

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As evacuation orders were lifted for the Thomas Fire Thursday, animals also got to go back home.

The Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara had been housing hundreds of animals -- everything from horses to goats to pot-bellied pigs and llamas. 

One volunteer likened Thursday's pickup to the unloading of Noah's Ark. 

And the evacuees said they were thankful they had people caring for their animals 24/7 while they faced uncertainty about their homes amid the fire. 

"It was so great to be able to leave my animals and not have to worry about them. They're always checking on waters and making sure everyone is happy," said Katie Upton, who had three chickens and three horses at the showgrounds. 

As of Thursday evening, the Thomas Fire is 272,600 acres and 65 percent contained. The increase in acreage from yesterday is due to firing operations, officials say. 

Related story: Hundreds of animals take refuge from Thomas Fire at Earl Warren Showgrounds

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