Authorities say the fire broke out about 6 p.m. Thursday and spread to about 2,500 acres by early Friday. It has destroyed dozens of luxury homes and parts of a college campus.
Santa Barbara, Calif., resident Tom Bain says the heat was so intense that multimillion homes were "just blowing up."
Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Nicole Koon says about 5,400 homes in tony Montecito were evacuated. The town only has about 14,000 residents and is adjacent to Santa Barbara. More people could be forced to flee if the fire spreads.