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'Raising Our Light' community remembrance event canceled due to weather

By Christina Atchison
Jan 06, 2023 at 11:53 PM

MONTECITO, CA –  It is with a heavy heart and an abundance of caution that Monday evening’s Raising Our Light commemorative ceremony to remember those lost in the 1/9 Debris Flow, is CANCELED.  

Raising Our Light was scheduled to take place Monday, Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. at Montecito Union School.

The National Weather Service is forecasting another strong storm system with heavy rain Monday through Tuesday afternoon. While public safety officials closely monitor the forecast and determine the appropriate actions for community members to take, we have decided to cancel our in-person gathering so that everyone can focus on their safety.

It is normal to experience feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness surrounding the anniversary of a disaster, especially with the current weather conditions and recent storm experience requiring evacuations, all falling so close to the 1/9 date. 

Raising Our Light is a collaborative effort by the Montecito Community Partnership Team including: Montecito Fire Protection District, Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade, Montecito Association, Montecito Journal, Montecito Union School District, Cold Spring School District, the First District Supervisor’s Office and County of Santa Barbara Department of Behavioral Wellness. 

The Montecito Community Partnership Team will look for an opportunity to reschedule Raising Our Light when the skies clear and conditions are safe. 

While we cannot be together for the Raising Our Light event, we encourage everyone to acknowledge memories and emotions that may surface around the 1/9 disaster anniversary.

Some of the common feelings which may come up surrounding the 5-year mark of the 1/9 Debris Flow, paired with current weather conditions, include: stress, memories, sadness, tearfulness, frustration, anger, guilt, avoidance, difficulty sleeping, or irritability. 

Tips for coping include:

  • Acknowledge feelings you may be having
  • Stay connected with others and share feelings and experiences
  • Accept kindness and support from others
  • Be gentle with yourself
  • Engage in healthy activities
  • Keep routines
  • Draw upon faith/spirituality
  • Help others
  • Reach out for support when needed

The Community Wellness Team, formed in response to the 1/9 Debris Flow, remains available to offer support and can be reached by calling 805-364-2750. 

For linkage to mental health services or for urgent or crisis needs, please call the Behavioral Wellness 24/7 Access line at 1-888-868-1649.  To learn more about the County of Santa Barbara Department of Behavioral Wellness, please visit


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