Evacuations orders were lifted early Thursday in downtown Solvang, hours after a potential explosive device was discovered, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.
The device, described only as a military ordnance, was reported at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday on the 1600 block of Copenhagen Drive, said sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.
Shortly after midnight, the device was rendered safe by the sheriff's bomb squad and an explosive ordnance disposal team from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Hoover said.
It was at that point that residents and visitors, including many people staying at local hotels, were allowed to return to the area.
Reverse 911 calls were used to help evacuate some 500 to 700 residences and businesses within a 1,500-foot radius of where the device was found, Hoover said.
The evacuation area was bounded by Laurel Avenue, Birch Lane, Alisal Road and Fifth Street, Hoover said.
"The evacuation area has been set up as a safety precaution," Hoover said.
The sheriff's Search & Rescue Team was assisting with evacuations, Hoover said.
A Red Cross Shelter was set up at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Building to house those who were evacuated.