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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deployed nearly two dozen employees to Santa Barbara County early Sunday morning, Dec. 17, as firefighters continued to try to control the massive Thomas fire burning there and in Ventura County, the agency announced.

The deployment was in response to a mutual aid request made by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES),  according to Sheriff’s Department Deputy Kimberly Alexander.

“This was the first request made to the L.A. County area for mutual aid to be sent to Santa Barbara County for the Thomas fire,” Alexander told the Daily News.

About 22 Sheriff’s Department employees will be helping with evacuations, security and traffic control, she said. Scores of employees from other agencies in Los Angeles County have also been deployed to the area.