H-SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

Oct 18, 2012 9:28 PM by Nikki Ibarra, KSBY News

Mop-up planned for Friday after Lookout Fire is contained

The Lookout Fire, which burned in the Painted Cave area north of Santa Barbara, was contained at five p.m. Thursday.

The fire burned at least 44 acres since it began just before 8 a.m. Wednesday. At least 40 homes in the area were evacuated. But that evacuation order was lifted 9 hours later.

Fire officials said this afternoon they were expecting it to be contained Friday by 6 p.m.

KSBY's Nikki Ibarra spent the afternoon at the scene.

"We're getting a lot of help from mother nature today with the fire," said Rich Phelps of the Los Padres National Forest. Phelps said crews feared a similar situation to the devastating Painted Cave Fire in 1990.

"They were prepared for a really nasty fire fight," added Phelps.

Preparing for the worst, they brought in extra crews; some from as far north as Atascadero. But they weren't the only ones doing their jobs. People living in the area maintained the dry brush around their properties making it easier for the firefighters to work.

"It's a year round effort. The homeowners take it seriously and we tell people like during the winter time to also check and keep maintaining your structure, your home, make it fire safe. Clean out the gutters, check your rook, all those things," said Captain David Sadecki of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The fire brought many obstacles, including boulders, that slowly rolled down the hill.

"One of our operation guys described it as like a bowling alley so really keep your eyes open," said Phelps.

Fire crews remain grateful Thursday this fire didn't take a much different turn.

"We had a lot of folks here just in case. We hoped for the best and hoped the weather forecast is accurate but we also planned for the worse," added Phelps.

About 175 personnel will stay on scene Friday patrolling the fire lines and mopping up any hot spots.

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