California: dozens of homes burn in Tea fire

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The Tea fire started at 6 p.m. Thursday and has burned dozens of homes south of Santa Barbara near the community of Montecito, according to Fox Channel 11. Spokesperson Michelel Mickiewicz of Santa Barbara County said at 10:15 p.m. PT that 1,000 acres have burned and 125 engines have been ordered. At least one night-flying water-dropping helicopter has also been ordered but the winds have made it difficult to use aircraft. The crew from the Channel 2 helicopter was able to count at least 50 homes that had burned as of 11 p.m PT, and that was in the dark.

Fox is reporting that the library, the physics building, and some dorms at Westmont College have burned. About 800 students are being sheltered in the gymnasium while structures on their campus burn.

The fire has been pushed by Santa Ana winds, which have died down tonight in the fire area, but on Friday they are expected to blow with gusts up to 60 mph along with high temperatures and very low humidites. The fire is close to the coast, but the winds more inland are being measured tonight at 50+ mph.

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