#JesusitaFire postpile for 8 May


The shot above, a screen capture of a Google Earth view, with a .kml overlay from MODIS, shows the first fire detections (that I’ve seen at least), south of Foothill/Cathedral Oaks and west of 154. It also shows the first detections across the spine of the Santa Ynez Mountains. 3:02am. (All times Pacific.)

These detections do not mean fire spreading. During the Tea Fire, there were many detections that didn’t spread, at some distance from the fire itself. Still, this map gives a good visualization  of the growing fire perimeter. 3:03am

KEYT/3’s 3:00am video report. 3:04am

Far as I know, only KTYD is covering the fire live right now, at 3:10am. All the talk is about evacuations. Nothing about homes burning. KTYD’s four sister stations are also carrying the same audio. Click on “Listen Live” on the website. 3:13am

The latest from the Independent:

The fire is only a few hundred yards from Foothill in the San Roque area, but doesn’t appear to be burning any houses at the moment thanks to the firefighters concerted effort to hold Foothill Road.

Firefighters extinguished a small spot fire at Steven’s Park and trying to save homes at Canyon Acres off Ontare. One structure is already burning there; firefighters requested three to four extra engines to protect approximately 12 houses. 3:28am

Collected Independent coverage. 3:28am Copied from a byline: Ray Ford, Matt Kettmann, Chris Meagher, Ben Preston, Nick Welsh. These guys are doing a great job. Near as I can tell, the Indy is the only news organization with reporters working the fire around the clock. Outstanding work.

Hats off to Edhat as well. There are 328 comments so far to Ed’s latest report. 5:32am

From among the Edhat comments, this collection of GOES-10 satellite photos. Interesting to see where the smoke goes. 5:35am

John Wiley has lots of photos. 5:41am

I listened to the first three or four speakers in the 8am press conference, and then made the good chap I had an appointment with wait while we both listened to see if anybody would say what listeners most wanted to hear: what homes were lost, and what homes were most in danger. I hate to be critical of people doing heroic and much appreciated work, especially when it is quite true — as these speakers said — that many more homes were saved than lost, and at great risk and effort. I’ll just say it was frustrating not to get specifics about homes. Maybe they came around to it eventually. I don’t know. Eventually I had to turn off the radio (actually an iPhone tuned to KTYD) and get on with my meeting.

On the positive side, dig what Matt Kettmann (Contact), Sam Kornell , Ben Preston (Contact), Ethan Stewart (Contact) of the Independent wrote in Assessing What’s Burned: Damage Report, Updated Friday:

Although the task can be difficult in a wildfire zone — especially one with as many twists, turns, and long driveways as the foothills of Santa Barbara — The Independent’s reporters are trying their hardest to deliver what everyone who’s evacuated wants to know: the addresses of homes that have not survived the Jesusita Fire.

And deliver they do. First, the disclaimer:

We are fully aware that mistakes in this sort of reporting could be horrible for homeowners who get the wrong information, so we’ve strived for the utmost accuracy. Furthermore, based on responses we’ve already received during this fire and others, we believe that this public service is one of our most valuable roles as a media entity, and hope you find the information useful.

As of 1:30 p.m. on Friday, the following is what The Indy’s team of reporters has been able to put together.

Then the list, with very careful qualification. Excellent stuff. If the Indy doesn’t get an award for its fire coverage, there is no justice in Officialized Journalism.

Here is a recent Google Earth shot with a MODIS overlay of fire spottings by satellite. Note the difference between this one and the shot at the top from early this morning:


The nearest red spot is above San Jose Creek in the canyon above Patterson Ave, near some orchards or vineyards. This is in or below the area burned by the Gap Fire in July of last year. Perhaps more scary is the set of new red squares advancing northwest toward Painted Cave, which is on the left edge of this shot. Here’s a better view:


The last big fire in Santa Barbara — and the biggest ever in terms of home loss — was the Painted Cave Fire of 1990. More than 600 homes were lost. But none in Painted Cave itself. The fire started near there, but advanced straight down toward the sea. Many of the houses you see on this picture between the 101 and 154 symbols on this shot were burned in that fire. 5:09pm

There’s a press conference going on. I’m listening on KNX/1070. Also KCLU/1340/102.3. The KCLU stream (which is what I’m now listening to, here in Boston) is here. 5:14pm.

30,500 are evacuated. (That includes us, by the way. We’re kind of extremely evacuated, staying about 3,000 miles away.) “There will be no re-population tonight.” Shelter is available. Room left at the Multi-Activities Center at UCSB. Find it off Mesa. “A supurb evacuation center.” Special needs folks should go to the Thunderdome on the campus. KCLU is summarizing now. KNX continues to carry the audio of the conference. Surprising since KNX is a Los Angeles news station that covers all of SoCal, and needs to run advertising every few minutes. So they’re eating that income. KCLU is back to its regular NPR program. 5:22pm

Inciweb has a Jesusita Fire incident page now. For earlier fires, Inciweb has been the canonical (if unofficial) source of data. KNX just directed listeners looking for non-Santa Barbara news to KFWB, its sister station in Los Angeles. KNX has a strong signal in Santa Barbara. KFWB has none and is much more local to L.A. itself. 8:27pm

They’ve been using “multiple arial assets” including a DC-10 that can deliver large payloads.5:32

Getting close to posting addresses and other “assessments”. “Confident we’re moving towards” posting those. In the next two days. Close to 2500 personnel. More than 200 fire engines. Massive mutual aid program. 5:33pm

Can somebody ask about Painted Cave? 5:34pm

Pictures from Mercury Press. 5:40pm

Ray Ford has another excellent piece in the Independent. To answer a commenter, below, Cocopah was okay. Ray names names on other streets as well. 7:31pm

Here is a view toward MODIS fire findings. I’ve added Gap and Tea Fire perimeters as well. When this thing is over, we’ll have a charred mountain face, but not a bad fire break. For a short while, anyway. 7:38p


Okay, that’s enough pictures for your browser to suffer. I’m heading for bed. It’s 10:39 here and I need to be up early. 7:39pm

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9 Responses to #JesusitaFire postpile for 8 May

  1. Liam says:

    First of all, hope everyone is ok who is involved, but i wanted to say how cool the fire mapping is! Also like the Independent’s map.

  2. George says:

    Great weblog site, terrific links to a variety of updates and visuals (L.A. Times photos, in particular, are stunning). Your URL popped up while I was searching for info the other night (I used to live in Santa Barbara, and am a former firefighter, so have vested interest plus numerous friends in affected areas.) Keep up the good work!

  3. michelle kendall says:

    Excellent update. What about the eastern front, can you show what is happening on the back side of the Riveria with a google earth MODIS overlay? It looks like there are some recent flareups.

    I noticed that KTYD made some changes/improvements to the website.

    Thanks again from a fellow “extreme evacuee” 7,000 miles away.


  4. Doc Searls says:

    Thanks, all. Michelle, I hope my latest photo (the last added above) shows the back side well enough. Mission Creek (Riviera’s backside) is all clear. For now, at least. Again, far as I can tell.

  5. Dave Ely says:

    Thanks for the MODIS data, that really helped fill in the picture. Everyone in the house is suddenly a Google Earth fan.

    KFWB 980 has been OC/LA where KNX 1070 was LA/OC for the 20+ years I’ve been out here. I was surprised to hear that you can pick up KNX in Santa Barbara. I lose KFWB heading west into Agoura/Simi depending on the route.

  6. phylis gandy says:

    Bula ..from Fiji.. use to live in Santa Barbara.. worked for the S.B. county schools outdoor school.. back in the 60s and 70s.. still have teacher friends that live on Foothill and up Mission Canyon.
    yours has been the best info I can find on why they are not answering the Phone!!!!
    Prayers are with you all.. I remember the Coyote Fire.. …

  7. Randy says:

    Kind words toward the work of my colleagues, thanks.

    Would you mind if we posted some of your fancy-pants Google Earth photos, with attitribution?

    Randy Campbell

  8. Ari Herzog says:

    I’d heard of KML and Google Earth mashings, but never saw it until now. Thanks for the imagery!

  9. Doc Searls says:

    Dave, on KFWB and KNX…

    Both are non-directional, but the difference in coverage owes partly to power and mostly to transmitter location.

    KFWB/980 is in east LA, at a site they share with KLAC/570: a 3-tower affair, where they share the taller center tower by day and KLAC goes directional with the shorter towers at night. Ground conductivity, which has a huge influence on AM coverage, gets poorer as you move inland in Southern California. In the direction of Ventura, KFWB’s 5kw signal also has to work its way over a number of hills with very poor conductivity.

    KNX /1070 is 50kw — ten times the wattage of KFWB (though signal strength increases as the square root of the power, so it’s really more like 2 1/2 times as powerful), with its transmitter near the ocean in Torrance. Ground conductivity there is high. In the direction of Santa Barbara it hits the ocean after a couple of miles and has a salt water path the rest of the way. Salt water is the most conductive ground in the world. So KNX has a very good signal in Santa Barbara.

    KFWB’s old transmitter for many years was on La Brea, down near LAX, and reportedly had great coverage everywhere but deep inland. Not sure why they moved it, but my engineering buddies have told me it was a bad idea.


    KFWB coverage map.

    KNX coverage map.

    Both show how much better ground conductivity over sea water is.

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