Santa Barbara County Fire Prompts Evacuations

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Evacuations have been ordered and structures are threatened in brush fire burning in Santa Barbara County Thursday afternoon.

The blaze, near the town of Orcutt, broke out just before 2 p.m., according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

The blaze was 50 to 75 acres, but was initially spreading at a rapid rate on a red flag warning day, fire officials said.

It was burning near East Rice Ranch Road and Sage Crest Drive (map), where open space comes up against a residential development. The area is south of Santa Maria.

About 200 homes were being evacuated, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

As of 3:10 p.m., the fire's "forward progress" was stopped, fire Capt. David Sadecki told NBC4. Evacuations were being halted.

Firefighters from the county fire department and the U.S. Forest Service were on scene. Two helicopters and four air tankers were also battling the blaze.

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