Driving through the Tea Fire – Montecito

Winds were relatively light, today, and on shore. Air support was really working it. Six fixed wing, ten helicopters, and Big Daddy. 


This gives you perspective about where the fire is in relation to town.

helicopters-tea-fireThis was taken from the 101 Freeway, near downtown Santa Barbara. As I listened to the radio describe a retardant drop, I was watching the same action. Unfortunately, I couldn’t photograph it and drive at the same time.

I managed to tune into a local Santa Barbara station just outside of Buellton, and listened all the way to Malibu. Firefighting teams and air support were really getting a handle on it today, while they could. Although sundowners are expected to pick up tonight, they are not predicted to be as forceful as they were last night. There were no new evacuations listed during the day, and none lifted. No containment figures given, either, and a public briefing is to be given at 4 pm.

I did see USFS Engine 33 leaving Santa Barbara, headed south at around Carpenteria. I am still trying to figure that one out.

The Tea Fire had burned 2,000 to 2,500 acres, and damaged or destroyed approximately 100 homes by 9:20 this morning, according to the County of Santa Barbara Emergency Operations Center.

By 4:00 this afternoon the number of homes lost could be closer to 200, though the count won’t be known for another day to day-and-a-half, according to Santa Barbara Fire Chief Ron Prince. “This has been a devastating fire over the last 22 hours,” he said.

One thought on “Driving through the Tea Fire – Montecito

  1. Kate,
    We had our own scares here in Big Sur last night and this afternoon. Around 2am on 11/14 there was a page for flames and smoke just west of Nepenthe in the Coastlands. Probably one of the worst areas for potential structure loss on the whole coast. It turned out to be branches waving in front of some orange lights at Nepenthe. But it only underscores the serious and immediate need for residents to clean up, clear out, and be ready for fire. At 2am it was 66 degrees according to the gauge in my truck. USFS and BSFB took it serious and paged several engines to respond.
    Around 5pm another incident: a motorcycle overheated and was pulled into the thick grass at the base of the Hermitage driveway. The grass and bike caught fire. Fortunately, one monk had mistaken the dust from a rockslide in Limekiln SP for smoke and called 911. On their way to investigate, USFS and BSFB discovered the real fire.
    It’s hot, dry and windy: be FIRESAFE, recognize the potential and be extra careful with anything hot.

    On a side note: benefits for BSFB ONLY benefit the brigade itself, NOT it’s members. The Brigade is all volunteer and members respond to incidents up and down the coast on our own individual dimes. Benefits are not “payment” to firefighters, but are essential for outfitting the three engines with equipment, fire-gear ,and fuel.
    BSFB does not tax the community for services but is supported wholly financially and morally by it’s generosity.
    I respond to aid my friends and community, not for profit.

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