SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire threatening homes above Santa Barbara has now destroyed 15 acres of steep hillside.

Fire officials say the blaze is spreading slowly below some homes in the Painted Cave area and evacuations have been ordered. Six air tankers have been called in.

The blaze erupted around 8 a.m. Wednesday near the prosperous, scenic coastal city sandwiched between picturesque beaches and towering, heavily wooded mountains.

Crews will try to box in flames on the steep, rocky hillside.

County fire Capt. David Sadecki tells KNX radio that the fire’s cause is unknown, but some power lines are down in the area.

The Painted Cave area was the scene of another fire in 1990 that killed one person and burned about 550 homes over 7 1/2 square miles.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


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