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Gusty Winds, Dry Brush Fuel Huge California Fire

Firefighters battled Saturday to gain control of a destructive wildfire burning near Santa Barbara, California, that mushroomed in size overnight, pushed by gusty offshore winds into dry brush that has not burned in decades. The Whittier Fire, which broke out July 8 and has already destroyed eight homes, had been more than 50 percent contained Friday before so-called “sundowner” winds picked up in the evening, according to a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) website. Nearly 3,000 people who were forced to flee their homes near Cachuma…

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