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By Joyce Reed
Jul 11, 2019 at 11:00 PM

MONTECITO, CA – The Montecito Fire Department, in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Carpinteria Summerland Fire Protection District, have engaged Atkin’s Engineering to update the Debris Flow Risk Map. The most current version of the Debris Flow Risk Map was published in late Fall 2018 and is available at Atkin’s Engineering is very familiar with the South Coast. They developed last year’s Debris Flow Risk Map and the FEMA Interactive Recovery Map. 

The purpose of the Debris Flow Risk Map is to identify properties in our communities that may be at risk from a catastrophic debris flow; it is utilized by local emergency managers to determine what portions of the community to evacuate when high intensity, short duration rainfall is forecast by the National Weather Service. 

The Debris Flow Risk Map is being updated to reflect several positive changes that have occurred in our community over the past twelve months. The watershed that produces debris flow continues to regenerate and recover from the Thomas Fire providing much more soil stability. Our creek channels and debris basins have been improved and widened by Santa Barbara County Flood Control District to provide a more direct route to the ocean. Our communities benefited from these improvements during the most recent storm season when all the debris stayed in the channels. Additionally, Debris Flow Ring Nets have been installed in three canyons by The Partnership for Resilient Communities enhancing our community’s safety by catching and holding debris before it reaches populated areas. 

According to Matt Pontes, Interim OEM Director “The updated Debris Flow Risk Map will provide emergency managers with the latest, scientifically validated information to ensure that we are only evacuating those areas necessary when high intensity, short duration rainfall is forecast.” Montecito Fire Chief Kevin Taylor said “given watershed regrowth, basin and channel improvement, our systems performance during the most recent storm season, and the addition of the debris flow ring nets, we are hopeful that significantly less community members will be impacted by the updated map.” 

Scientists will begin gathering data at the end of August 2019 and the map will be published in late October 2019. Community meetings and a door to door campaign of affected properties will follow in early November 2019. 

For more information on the updated Debris Flow Risk Map please contact the Montecito Fire Department at 805-969-7762.

Posted in Press Releases.
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