Fire Near Santa Barbara Nearly 50 Percent Contained

A fire north of Santa Barbara has burned more than 18,000 aces and is 49 percent contained after more than a week as firefighters make progress containing the blaze which has destroyed 16 buildings. 

The so-called Whittier fire burning near Santa Barbara was 49 percent contained, an improvement over the weekend when winds picked up and pushed the fire into brush that hadn't burned since 1955. That was a setback for firefighters who have been battling the blaze in hot, dry conditions. 

Forecasters say firefighters can expect temperatures and humidity to remain constant, but some cooling is on the way thanks to onshore winds along the parts of the fire nearest to the coast.

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County due to the Whittier and Alamo fires that are currently burning. 

Cal Fire upped the total of buildings destroyed to 16 and one damaged by the Whittier fire after they got a closer look at the affected area. 

The Whittier fire gets its name, not for the town, but rather for a camp where the fire initially began. Cal Fire's policy in naming fires come from where the initial ignition source was spotted. 

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