According to Santa Barbara County and City Fire officials, the Tea Fire, as of 9 a.m., is 95 percent contained. The cause of the destructive blaze – which burned just shy of 2,000 acres and consumed at least 210 residences – is still under investigation though authorities are saying this morning that it was indeed caused by humans.
Currently, 1,300 firefighters and assorted other personnel are on the scene putting out remaining hot spots and assessing damage. During its peak late last week, the fire forced the evacuation of more than 8,000 homes in Montecito and Santa Barbara. Now, 319 parcels remain under mandatory evacuation. Evacuations have been lifted for all communities except for those on Camino Alto, Conejo Lane, Conejo Road, Ealand Place, Orizaba Lane, Sherman Road, West Mountain Drive between El Cielito Road and Coyote Road, and Gibraltar Road north of El Cielito Road to East Camino Cielo.
The suppression cost to date is $4.9 million. There have been 22 injuries due to smoke inhalation, three burn injuries, and one related fatality. The latter being a 94-year old man who passed away several hours after being safely evacuated from the Circle Drive area.
Anyone with information related to the origins of the fire is urged to call the anonymous tips hotline at (805) 681-4171.