Bonfire Abandoned by Young Adults Caused Santa Barbara's Tea Fire

Tuesday, Nov 18, 2008  |  Updated 5:22 PM PDT
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Viewer Images: Tea Fire Burns in Montecito Area

AP

A huge two story home with an unobstructed view of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean lie's in ruins after a wind driven brush fire destroyed it.

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LOS ANGELES -- A bonfire built by a group of young adults is what sparked a massive wildfire in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Tuesday that 10 people had gathered at the tea garden where the fire originated. About 13 hours after they'd left, the fire broke out. The group believed the fire had been put out before they left.

An anonymous tip led to the discovery.

The fire was the first of three blazes to erupt in Southern California in the last week.

More than two dozen people were injured in the fire, including a Montecito couple who remained in critical condition Tuesday at the University of California, Irvine, Medical Center.

The fire had burned 1,940 acres and was 100 percent contained by Tuesday. Santa Barbara County officials said 106 homes were burned in the city of Santa Barbara and another 77 burned in neighboring Montecito. A state of emergency was declared in Santa Barbara County.

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