Santa Barbara Fire

Just learned there’s a fire in Santa Barbara. Our house is not in the evacuation area (that’s Cold Springs, and some surrounding sections in Montecito and SB C ), but we’re still concerned. I’m taking public notes, before I head down there. (I’m in the Bay Area.)

I’m listening to from Los Angeles right now. “The main body of this fire is in wilderness, but there are homes below the thick black smoke… 60 mph winds… East of Mountain Drive and Cold Springs Road… the KCAL helicopter is fighting turbulence. Heavy winds.” Now they’re talking to the retired fire chief. He says the winds are high and “downcanyon” toward the ocean. “There are structures involved in this fire.” Now burning Southwest. That’s toward town. Bad.

To watch: Inciweb, MODIS western region fire maps. Also here.

Twitter Search for Santa Barbara.

If you have news sources, or news you want to share, post it in the comments below. Thanks.

[Later…] It’s 3am and I’m in Santa Barbara now, getting ready to crash at some friends’, sitting on a chair out front in the cool smoky moonlit night.

I could see the fire high on the mountain face as I drove into town, but smoke obscured it when I tried to see more from the Mesa, above downtown. The town itself, and the Riviera above it, looked normal from what I could tell, even though I know at least a couple houses within sight had already burned. Beyond that, in Montecito and beyond the back side of the Riviera, 70+ homes gone. Or so reports say.

I listened mostly to KNX on the way down. They became, in effect, a Santa Barbara station. Then, once in range, I lisened to local reports to /91.9 and /990.

I noticed that many stations on Gibraltar Peak were off the air, and learned on KTYD that their sister station KSBL/101.7 had lost its antenna to the fire. That antenna was closest to the woods, and to the source of the fire. Also gone were KQSC/88.7, KSBX/89.5, religious station translators on 89.9 and 91.5, KCLU’s translator on 102.3, and KMGQ/106.3. Still on the air were KDB/93.7 and KTYD/99.9. All those off the air are near brush on the side of the peak facing town. KDB is on the back side of the transmitter building, away from brush. The fact that it’s on the air tells me that the transmitter building survived, but that most antennas outside did not. All but KDB’s were close to the ground. KTYD is farther up the hill, and high on one of KTYD’s three towers.

Hard to imagine fire up that high, and in country so thick with flammable chapparal, not spreading and consuming the whole mountain, especially if the winds are right. But… I dunno. Meanwhile, read while I go to bed.


  1. Warren’s avatar

    live-blogging the fire as best I can here:

    hope your place stays out of the wind line. 🙂

  2. Ted’s avatar

    Thanks again for your always timely fire info.

  3. Mark Snyder’s avatar

    Doc, Do you know if the fire has hit Westmont Rd. We have aged and ill family there

  4. Scott Kingery’s avatar

    Hope everyone is safe.

    When freee, check out CrisisWire. Went live today.

  5. Susan Kitchens’s avatar

    Santa Barbara Independent reports that the fire’s on Westmont’s campus. Chapel burning, other buildings. Not good, not good at all.

  6. Edward Vielmetti’s avatar

    Here’s the web site for the Santa Barbara Independent:

  7. Tilly’s avatar

    The best place I’ve found for information on the fires or any disasters for that matter is Good luck to any that this is effecting and stay safe.

  8. Jan Searls’s avatar

    On the phone with Doc, who is driving down from the bay area and can’t blog, so I’m keeping him up with everything I can find here. Edward, you have terrific list of links, very helpful and thank you.

    I don’t know who is behind this site but they are updating it frequently so Doc asked me to post it here as well.

  9. Phelan’s avatar

    You can get up to date information on the SB fires from

  10. Edward Vielmetti’s avatar

    Thanks Jan, when I saw Doc’s post I figured that I could do something, so I started to do it.

    The map is from “grizzlehizzle”; don’t know who that is, a Santa Barbara resident.

  11. Sheila’s avatar

    Well, if “grizzlehizzle” is accurate, the house is in the mandatory evacuation area. KCAL says that the fire is moving toward the mission…Doc, just where do you think that you are going? To the evacuation center?

  12. Flip’s avatar

    There are many in SB who will take Doc in. No need for him to go to an evacuation center unless he is going to blog about it. 🙂

  13. Edward Vielmetti’s avatar

    WARNING: the “” link tries to install malware. Don’t click on it.

  14. Beth Fergon’s avatar

    Doc, I am Hope Taylor’s daughter, Beth. I can not reach them and wonder if you know if Camino Viejo was reached by the fire. I think Vicki was going to the evacuation center and mother to a friend’s home, but I have not had any word since last night. Do you know if the fire reached them? Thank you.

  15. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Beth, Camino Viejo is not in the fire zone, and is outside the evacuation area. See here. I doubt the fire will head in the direction of Hope’s house, but you never know. Please feel free to keep us up to date on how the family is doing. My email is doc (at) searls (dot) com.

  16. jason’s avatar

    My Aunt’s house is near the intersection of 192/Starwood…just south of the Sheffield Reservoir (according to gmaps, i apologize if my geography is off somewhat) I cannot ascertain if the fire has reached this area.

    Can anybody give me intel? Specifically on Hillcrest.

    Thanks so much, thoughts and pryers to all those affected.

  17. carrie’s avatar

    dear jason,
    Look at the LA Times article online…it has a fire map…i heard from friends that the area around Sheffield Resevoir has burned..i’m so sorry, and that some houses on Hillcrest, also. have burned.
    check the map. do you mean 192 and Stanwood? The fire station’s there..

  18. Kai’s avatar

    More information on the Tea Fire, especially as it relates to Westmont College can be found at:

  19. Doc Searls’s avatar


    I just toured the area this evening, and didn’t see any houses lost on Hillcrest, though I might have missed one. It was getting toward sunset. The Sheffield Reservoir area itself looked fine, pretty much. As you go north and east of there, however, you meet devastation. Stanwood, Canejo, El Cielito, Mt. Calvary and Gibraltar all have lots of lost homes. I didn’t see the Mt. Calvary Monastery, but police told me it was a total loss. I’m hoping one home along that road, designed by the same architect who did our house, survived; but I have my doubts. Mountain Road had its survivors, but many homes there were lost.

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