Santa Barbara Fire update

Well, the Tea Fire has been upstaged by the Sylmar Fire. (Both links are to LA Times stories. Do LA Times stories still drift behind a paywall after a week? Not sure. If so, I’ll change them to more permanent pages later.) Here’s the latest I’ve heard from KCLU radio…

  • The official toll of burned structures is now 111, although the real number is likely higher than 150.
  • There are still small ground fires to put out along the north side of Mission Ridge Road, and that’s what’s keeping the evacuation roadblocks up.
  • The fire is officially 40% contained.
  • Officials are hoping to lift evacuation notices by the end of the day.

Noozhawk says the number may be as high as 200. Here’s more.

I’m heads-down, finishing a major writing assignment, and won’t be revisiting fire matters until later today. Meanwhile it’s clear that the Tea Fire is in the mopping-up stage, as the life-rebuilding stage has barely begun for hundreds of people here.

A friend just called and said that the barricades are still up, but the cops there also said they expected some areas to be opened within an hour. If you’re in an evacuated area, check with SB County Fire or Montecito Fire.

Other links: on Tea Fire, Edhat news, Noozhawk news, SB Independent news, City 2.0 bulletin boardHere are some pictures of the Westmont campus. Amazed it wasn’t much worse.

More later. (Including the pictures I just put up.)

[Later…] Back home. Other parts of town are still barricaded, but ours isn’t. I’m at my desk now, getting to work.

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5 Responses to Santa Barbara Fire update

  1. Hey Doc, not sure when you posted this since your blog doesn’t have timestamps (?), but the good news is those LAT links you mention are permalinks, at least for several months. LAT news (and the rest of has been out from behind a paywall for some time now.

    Thanks for sharing the photos. Glad to hear things are ok, at least in your immediate neck of the woods.

    For the latest on all the SoCal fires, tune into

  2. Doc Searls says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I’d like to know if the links truly are permanent. Forgive me, but “at least for several months” doesn’t cut it.

    Meanwhile, keep up the good work. Much appreciated.

  3. Melissa (Butts) Stern says:

    I heard about this fire and dreaded what I would find. I lived on Sycamore Canyon Rd, two blocks away from Cold Springs Elementary School, where I also attended. I swam at the pool at Westmont College every summer and caught the bus at the base of Westmont Rd to ride on into Santa Barbara Jr. High. I lived through the Sycamore Canyon fire. My family was lucky, our home was fine, many of my friends did not have homes to return to. My heart goes out to all.

  4. Doc Searls says:


    When we first moved to town, we loved on Paso Robles, the little street that parallels Sycamore Canyon, running from Chelham Circle to the playground at Cold Spring School.

    Did you know John Pharr, or any of the Tack brothers? Patrick Tack was the builder for the house we live in now.

    I believe that section of Sycamore Canyon was spared, as was Chelham, Paso Robles, the school and Lotusland. Some houses on Circle Drive were lost, up near Westmont. So were most of the houses along Coyote going up to Mountain Drive. The same area burned in both the Sycamore Canyon Fire, and the Coyote Fire fourteen years before that. Westmont also took some hits.

    Scary place to live. Lesson: don’t have anything there you’re not willing to lose.

  5. This prime winemaking region is now far removed from the underappreciated, average wine region that existed when we first drove through central California in 1994 Take my advice visit and sample as much as you can…..

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