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Brush, Timber Blaze Chars 120 Acres

Special to The Times

A fire that authorities said may have been the result of arson was contained Monday, after consuming 120 acres of brushland and forcing evacuation of 60 youngsters from a church preschool in the San Marcos Pass area just north of here.

A spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department said the blaze began between California 154 and Via Chaparral, about a mile north of Foothill Road.

Nearly 100 firefighters from a dozen engine companies, two bulldozers and two air tankers fought the blaze, but in the first hour, the fire had blackened 60 acres of dry brush and timber and was posing a threat to 15 structures, including the Trinity Baptist Church preschool, whose children were removed to safety in a nearby county administrative building.

The danger was finally averted when the 35-m.p.h. wind died and the fire was contained after 2 1/2 hours.

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Fire marshals said the blaze appeared to be connected with six smaller fires that broke out during the morning in the same area. Incendiary devices were found near all those fires, they said.


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