Big wildfire which began Wednesday near Santa Barbara forced a state of emergency on Friday

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The blaze began about 3:20 p.m. Wednesday near Refugio Road. Mandatory evacuations for El Capitan, Refugio, Venadito and Las Flores canyons north of Santa Barbara remained in effect, while residents of neighboring communities such as Las Llagas, Gato, Las Varas, Dos Pueblos and Eagle canyons received evacuation warnings. An evacuation center has been opened at Wake Center, 300 N. Turnpike Road in Santa Barbara. Horses and other large animals can be taken to the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara. More than 400 firefighters were involved working in the area on the ground and from the air. Now, their number increased to 1200. On Thursday night the fire roared into El Capitan Canyon.The cause of the fire is under investigation. A state of emergency was declared by Santa Barbara Country on Friday.

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