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.

Fire Season NOT over! Fire in Montecito

8 PM tonight, breaking news in Santa Barbara reported a wildfire in Montecito. I will look for more details and post them here.

Multiple structures on fire. Called, “The Tea Incident” at this time. Strike teams being mobilized from all over. Reports on number of structures and number of acres are all over the map, and thus unreliable, at this time, however recent (9:30 pm) reports indicate 300 acres, and 7 homes burned The “sundowner” winds are creating significant problems. Gusts of up to 70 mph are reported, per NWS, which seems to be reliable. ALL off duty SBSO have been ordered to report for duty, per KCOY TV.

Fire seems to be above Highway 192 area, in between the Cold Springs Rd. and Hot Springs Rd. possibly heading toward 101, but reports are really sketchy. Fire said to have started around 6 pm.

4 AM -Throughout the night, strike teams from all over the state have been ordered to report to the TEA fire. Reports are that 80 homes have been destroyed, so far, as well as several buildings at Westmont College. As of 4 AM, 2000 acres are reported, and 500-1000 firefighters on scene to keep the fire from spreading west into Santa Barbara. Air support has been ordered for dawn.

USFS Central Coast IMT 7 (Jim Smith, Type 2) and CALFIRE IMT 10 (Pat Kerschen, Type 1) have both been ordered up to the Tea Fire. And if conditions allow, the DC-10 will be flying by 10 AM. Bringing in the big boys!

7 AM – Reports are 2500 acres and 100 homes burned. Oh, my.

Ever feel jinxed? I am supposed to drive through that area tomorrow (today) to see my Mom.