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Holiday Fire

Record-setting daytime temperatures spiked past 102 degrees during the evening of Friday, July 6, as strong sundowners blasted much of Santa Barbara’s coastal region. At approximately 8:40 p.m., emergency personnel received the first 9-1-1 call about a fast-moving wildfire in the Holiday Hill neighborhood, located north of Cathedral Oaks Road in Goleta. The first wave of firefighters arrived within four minutes after dispatch; the fire had already ignited nine homes.

Of the more than 3,000 nearby residents alerted, an estimated 2,500 evacuated. By midnight, the Holiday Fire had consumed more than 100 acres and 20 structures, including a dozen homes. Public safety leaders declared a local emergency around 1 a.m. on Saturday. Firefighters received a respite about an hour later as the winds settled down and temperatures slowly dropped. The fire was under control within about 12 hours of breaking out and most of the evacuated returned to their homes late Saturday and Sunday.

The hot winds and record temperatures — unofficially recorded as 106 on Holiday Hill — also damaged avocado crops at Las Varas Ranch, eight miles to the west, where the temperature hit 115.

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