Just got word from Irish scientist Eoghan Dillon who lives in Santa Barbara.

He and his wife are okay … for the moment.

Nanotechologist Eoghan Dillon – one of the brainiest and funniest persons to come out of Dublin – and his university lecturer wife Amanda, also one of the cleverest scientists in America, live in the hills to the north of Santa Barbara.

The Thomas Fire, now the third largest in California history, has now burned more than 400 square miles and is just 40 per cent contained.

According to USA Today the fire was so strong Saturday that firefighters had to stand down from the front lines.

Eoghan just emailed us:

“It was pretty crazy here today.

“Fire is just above montecito.

“Downtown is under an evac warning but we are not as yet, so we’re good for now.

“Think the winds should die down tonight and hopefully they can get a handle on the fire.”

Our picutre shows scientists Eoghan and Amanda in happier times in Santa Barbara – catching the cork from a bottle of champagne.

Eoghan reports that the Jarvaise family have got a truck to move their famous father’s paintings from their compound which is in harms way of the fire.

Eoghan says:

“The fire will be pretty close to them. I talked to him (Jean Jarvaise) yesterday and he was getting a truck so he could move the paintings. He is right on the border of the mandatory evacuation but not quite in it.”