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LPFD, other Bay Area firefighters now in Santa Barbara battling blazes

Governor declares state of emergency for coastal canyon fires

Bay Area fire agencies, including a fire truck and crew from the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department, have sent resources south to help battle the Jesusita Fire in Santa Barbara County, which has claimed at least 80 homes and continues to rage, but with 40 percent of the fire contained today and weather conditions improving for full containment by Wednesday.

Firefighters from departments in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, the East Bay Regional Park District, San Francisco, Hayward, Livermore-Pleasanton and Fremont left the Bay Area Tuesday and Wednesday, an Alameda County fire dispatch supervisor said.

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District spokeswoman Emily Hopkins said fire agencies are calculating how many people to send based on the numbers from last year's strike teams deployed to fires all over the state.

The county sent three people this time, but other agencies sent up to 12.

Livermore-Pleasanton fire Battalion Chief Joe Testa said the crews who left Wednesday are on a 24-hour cycle, which means they work for 24 hours, rest for the next 24 hours and then work again.

Since there has not been any containment, they will probably stay in Santa Barbara County for at least a few more days, Testa said.

Strike teams make an initial commitment of to up to 14 days.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for the county.

Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Kimbra McCarthy said 13,000 homes are under mandatory evacuation and another 13,000 are under warning. The eight firefighters have suffered injuries including a cracked rib, smoke inhalation and burns.

At least 14 schools in the county have been closed, state Highway 192 is closed in several locations and structures have been destroyed,

according to the county.

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