jesusita #jesusita jesusitafire

You are currently browsing articles tagged jesusita #jesusita jesusitafire.


I’ll post the rest of today’s observations here. Times are Pacific.

The LA Times has an excellent set of 53 photos that start here. 10:32am

Twitter search for #jesusita or #jesusitafire.

Listening to KTYD, where they’re reviewing the news conference I missed. (Hey, business goes on.) Lots of cooperation. All businesses on State Street are open. Free coffee for firefighters. They’re talking about Peets on Upper State Street, which is my main caffeine source when I’m in town. Lots of numbers about helicopters and planes. (They don’t know what kinds of planes do the dropping. They’re P3 Orions.) 1300 acres burned. 13000 people evacuated. Another 13000 warned. 26,000 total. 177 engines. 8 injuries. 3 burned, 1 smoke inhalation. 1700 personnel.

Talking to a firefighter, and his boss. Some concern about swirling winds, and the ability of the fixed wing airplanes to make drops. Six type two, other type ones. Helicopters, that is. (What are those?) 10:41am.

Interesting piece on wildfires in Wikipedia.

Why does Inciweb have nothing on the Jesusita fire? 10:53am

The Independent has an excellent and detailed report, including street addresses of some burned homes. Losses on Las Canoas, Montrose, Tunnel, Holly, Palomino.  Another here from Matt Kettman. Here is the paper’s Jesusita Fire page. Look through the whole list. It’s long and it’s good. 11:15am

The News-Press has some good photos. Will they scroll behind a paywall later? 11:17am

Just posted this map with notes in the Flickr pile. 11:35am

Here’s the latest from the Independent. Great report, as usual. 7:40pm

Just added the above map, with a link to this one, which has notes. 7:45pm

Spoke to two families, among our best friends in town. Both are leaving. Smoke is thick and shrouding the city. Ash falling everywhere. Flames appear to be moving west down toward 154 and threaten the houses south of that path. That’s above  Foothill west of Lauro Reservoir…  North Ontare (where there was action yesterday). Northridge. Barger Canyon Road. LaVista. All those head up canyons or ridges toward the mountains. San Antonio Creek and Canyon. 9:00pm

Listening back and forth between KTYD and KCLU. Good stuff from both. A caller to KTYD confirms that the fire has not jumped Highway 154. 9:04pm

John Palmintieri is calling in to KCLU. John is a local reporting workhorse, long a veteran on KEYT-TV and other stations. When we moved to Santa Barbara in ’01, he was the morning guy on the late local news station, KEYT/1250. KCLU has filled some of that gap, since buying the signal at 1340am. John says that the land burning now is mostly grassland, which burns quickly and dramatically, but isn’t as dangerous because it doesn’t drop embers at a distance. 9:18pm

An unconfirmed report on KTYD of the fire jumping west over 154. That area is now also under mandatory evacuation orders. West of 154, north of Cathedral Oaks. To Old San Marcos Road. This was an area evacuated for the Gap Fire as well. North of this was the large area burned by the Gap Fire, not long ago. 9:39pm



The above shows the situation, somehat. It’s a MODIS overlay on a Google Earth terrain view looking north from over downtown Santa Barbara. Go to that shot and mouse over for more.

Meanwhile, it’s clear that at least some hot spots have spread into the back country, above the city. But if those fires are still big, and the winds come strong toward town, we’ll be in very high danger.

Tags: ,

No tweets on #jesusitafire OR #santabarbara OR roque OR jesusita in the past three hours. That’s because it’s 5:45am in Santa Barbara right now. Not because nothing is happening. Check this scary image, from 3:25am.

I’m listening to KCLU. They did  good job last night. So did KTYD/99.9, the audio of which was substitued for the usual programing on sister stations KTMS/990 and KIST/1490.

Now it’s 6am, and KCLU only reports that three Ventura County firefighters were injured, some seriously. KTYD is taking a break from music programming to talk about what’s happening. Mostly it’s school closing.

KNX, at 6:05 has a reporter “live from the fire line.” Another at the fire command center. A story about a guy on Palomino Road (where some of our closest friends live) who did something with bush reduction that saved his house and those of neighbors. Doing correct pronunciations, too. “San Row-kee”. “La Coom-bra”. Well done.

Among the local TV stations yesterday, KSBY was the most helpful, because they had a helicopter parked a few hundred feet above the Foothill/San Roque intersection, looking for good video in the burning residential areas, that appeared to run west to east from upper San Roque/Santa Terasita to Tunnel Road. The shots I put up here were mostly from KSBY’s copter.

(Not quite oddly, KSBY is a San Luis Obispo station. SLO is a long drive over and around several mountain ranges. Over the air, KSBY’s signal is already weak where it’s walled off by the Santa Ynez mountains. But it doesn’t matter because almost nobody watches over the air TV in Santa Barbara anyway. There’s only one local English-speaking station (KEYT). If you want more TV, you get cable or satellite. KSBY is a cable station in SB.)

6:15am Pacific. KNX has a guy from Spyglass Ridge, who says all the houses on Holly Road burned, while Spyglass Ridge was spared. The fire jumped over his whole neighborhood. When a fire “jumps” it is usually by dropping burning “debris” at a distance from the fire itself. A the vertical winds in a fire can be high enough to lift burning shingles, bark, hunks of fences and whole flaming bushes, high into the sky, and drop them, still burning, up to half a mile or more away. The Oakland fire in 1991 leaped from Hiller Highlands across Temescal Lake, and two highways — 13 and 24 — to set the Piedmont district on fire. Well over 3000 homes burned in that one. It was easily the most amazing thing I have ever seen. At the height of the fire, a home was blowing up, literally exploding, every four seconds. We had friends who lost houses in that one, and not even the chimneys were standing. The heat at the center of the fire was several times that required for cremation. Cars were reduced to puddles of metal and glass. Once a fire like that gets going, “fighting” it is an optimistic verb.

This is the risk in Santa Barbara. The Cheltenham area, shown on the near side of the smoke in this shot here, is very much like Hiller Highlands and the Upper Broadway sections of Oakland, which burned in that ’91 fire. It’s a neighborhood of closely spaced homes on narrow winding roads, packed with beautiful yet highly flammable forests and landscaping. In other words, the kind of place that can go almost at once, and fast. Santa Barbara’s Riviera district is also like that. So is Barker Hill. And so were some of the regions burned by the Tea Fire.

As of right now, 6:25am, the winds are still calm. But the fire is 0% contained, and burning away on the face of the Santa Ynez mountain range that rises like a wall behind the city to nearly 4000 feet (at La Cumbre Peak). The woods here are dense with what they call “fuel”, and can be an abundant source of burning debris if the winds shift back south toward the civilization and the sea. High winds are expected later today.

So how can we keep up with news?

First, there’s Twitter. At 6:29am, the latest tweet on this search is from 3 hours ago and says

zbasset: #jesusitafire Has anyone been outside to do a visual this morning? How does it look? about 3 hours ago from web

This is actually helpful. So are any other tweets with actual reports, or links to useful information. Most of them are. Kudos to the tweeters.

It’s remarkable to see how far we’ve come since @nateritter started @sandiegofire in 2007. That showed what Twitter can do. In Santa Barbara it did much more in the Gap Fire and the Tea Fire. But now it’s mainstream. Every radio and TV station that wants to play in the clue flow has a Twitter account. The problem is, most of them are clueless in other ways, mostly because they still don’t realize that they are no longer the only lighthouses on the coast. There is an emerging ecosystem of news now, and it’s one in which everybody pariticipates. The result looks and sounds more like a trading floor than a newspaper or a radio or TV dial.

Speaking of which here’s a good list of local radio stations in Santa Barbara.

Tags: , , , , , ,


We’re in Boston, watching neighborhoods near our own in Santa Barbara, burning as the Jesusita Fire spreads south out of the mountains and into town. KSBY is running a live feed from a helicopter here. The audio is on constantly, so you can hear the pilot talking with the studio when reporters aren’t.

Here are some screen captures and Google Earth views, enhanced by MODIS satellite overlays. MODIS detects heat on the ground from a satellite that passes overhead a few times per day. One of those is above. The MODIS information is from early this afternoon. No new ones have been posted since then, and it’s now 7:50pm. The fire has spread into the middle left part of the shot above. If you go here and mouse over the picture, you’ll see the area that has been burning. The fires are in patches.

Here’s a google map with lots of helpful info.

KCLU radio is running constant coverage. Listen here. Good that they fired up a good new signal on 1340am. Lots of listeners calling in right now. [Later… KTYD is now running nonstop coverage.]

Much of the town is under evacuation orders, including areas that run all the way down to State Street, which is the main drag through the middle of town. Our home is in one of the mandatory evacuation zones. We’re highly evacuated, yet wishing we were there.

The winds are clearly from the west, moving straight east, toward Mission Canyon. In the path is the Cheltenham Road area, which is hill covered with lots of foliage and lots of houses. This is an area very much like the Oakland Hills, where I watched more than 3000 homes burn in 1991.

The last house that burned on TV is west of San Roque Road and Lauro Canyon Reservoir (which appears in some of the footage). I think it’s on Santa Terasita Road, off North Ontare. I’m taking some screen shots and trying to match them with the terrain view on Google Earth. I’ll put those shots up too.

One structure I see burning appears to be on the north side of E. Alamar Avenue, behind the Cheltenham neighborhood. Not sure, though.

I’d say this is surreal, but it’s all too real, and familiar. And scary as shit.

Okay, flames on San Roque Road, above the reservoir. Spyglass Ridge Road. Maybe Palomino Road. It would be nice if the reporter or the pilot would identify the roads they’re looking at. Instead they’re talking about hitting the Elephant Bar after they land.

I also notice that the winds have stopped. There appears to be a lull. The smoke is moving in the vertical direction. This is very good. Hope it lasts.

8:13pm Pacific. Here’s a Twitter stream on the fire. Props to KCSB for that one.

Tags: , , , , ,