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Firefighters getting the upper hand on the Santa Barbara fire

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Photo: Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times

Firefighters battling that huge Santa Barbara wildfire are getting some help from the weather today. The winds are calm, temperatures have dropped, the humidity is up, and the fog has rolled into the area. Fire officials at a news conference this morning announced they’re taking advantage of this break and are now going “on the offensive” against the five-day-old wildfire. Still they say their “guard is up” because they’re “not out of the woods” yet.

The wildfire is 30 percent contained, but has burned 8,700 acres and the number of homes destroyed or damaged now stands at 80. There was some good news. Thousands of evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes.

Also this morning, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and actor Rob Lowe, a local resident, visited an evacuation shelter on the campus of UC Santa Barbara.

Meanwhile, two injured firefighters underwent surgery at the Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks yesterday. A third injured firefighter was released from the hospital on Friday. Officials say 13 firefighters have been hurt battling the Santa Barbara wildfire, but most of their injuries have been minor. 

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