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Whittier Fire In Santa Barbara County Grows To 17,000 Acres

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A fire burning in Santa Barbara County near Lake Cachuma grew 4,000 acres overnight to reach 17,000 acres after almost a week of burning in the Los Padres National Forest. Known as the Whittier Fire, it started on July 8 near the Alamo Fire and has since prompted the evacuations of around 3,500 people. The fire is at 35% containment, according to Santa Barbara County. It has burned eight homes and 12 outbuildings. 1,240 personnel have been assigned to the fire.

Officials attribute the increase in size partly to low humidity and high temperatures, according to the L.A. Times. It also came from controlled burns to try and reduce the amount of fuel in the fire's path. The fire was at 50% containment on Friday, and officials expect the firefighters gain the upper hand again on Sunday.

Highway 154 has also been closed to the public from Highway 246 to Foothill Road, as well as the Los Padres National Forest in the area where the wildfire is burning. The area that is burning has not burned since 1955, according to USA Today.

Fire officials expect sundowner winds Saturday evening, which will make containment more difficult, according to the L.A. Times. The weather is supposed to cool down on Monday.

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The cause of the fire is still under investigation.