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Evacuation Warning for Montecito & Thomas Fire burn area

By Christina Favuzzi
Jan 08, 2023 at 11:54 PM

MONTECITO, CA.– An EVACUATION WARNING is effective as of 4 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2023 due to an incoming storm that has the potential to produce flooding, mud and debris flows. This EVACUATION WARNING is effective immediately and applies to identified properties and parcels in the Thomas Fire burn area of Santa Barbara County.

VIEW THE SANTA BARBARA COUNTY JANUARY WINTER STORM INCIDENT MAP: Please reference the Santa Barbara County January Winter Storm Incident Map at ReadySBC.org. Areas at greatest risk of flooding and debris flow are highlighted. This is an interactive map. Type in your address to see if your property falls within the highlighted areas. If so, prepare now to evacuate before the heaviest rain arrives.

SBC Jan Winter Storm Incident Map

The Evacuation Warning may be upgraded to an Evacuation Order. Please monitor the weather forecast closely and take steps now to prepare for a possible evacuation.

In response to the Evacuation Warning, we ask community members to:

  • PREPARE to leave: fill gas tank, load up important documents, essential items, etc.
  • LEAVE if you feel unsafe. DO NOT wait for an evacuation order.
  • People with disabilities, access and functional needs should leave now.
  • People with large animals should leave now.
  • Be ready to leave at a moment's notice.
  • DO NOT attempt to drive while it is dark or raining, as roads may be damaged or your car may be swept away by moving water or debris.
  • BE PREPARED to sustain yourself and your household for multiple days if you choose not to evacuate, as you may not be able to leave the area and emergency responders may not be able to access your property in the event of road damage, flooding, or a debris flow.

“Given our risk of a five-year debris flow/debris laden flood and the fact that a debris flow/debris laden flood occurred in 1969 after the 1964 Coyote Fire and 1964 Debris Flow, we have elected to issue an evacuation warning to our community effective 4 p.m. today,” said Montecito Fire Chief Kevin Taylor.

According to the National Weather Service, the heaviest rain will fall Monday afternoon through Tuesday. The storm is forecast to add another 5-9+ inches of rain to the already saturated Montecito foothills and mountains. This cumulative, saturating rain increases our risk of flooding and debris flow.

This Monday marks five years since the 1/9 Debris Flow of 2018, which occurred following the Thomas Fire. It is normal to experience feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness surrounding the anniversary of a disaster, especially with the current weather conditions requiring evacuation warnings and orders, falling on the 1/9 date. 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 https://www.countyofsb.org/274/Behavioral-Wellness.

For evacuation shelter information, contact the American Red Cross at 805-678-3073.

For animal evacuation information, call Santa Barbara County Animal Services at (805) 681-4332.

For additional information, contact the Santa Barbara County Call Center at (833) 688-5551 or call 2-1-1.

REGISTER TO RECEIVE PUBLIC SAFETY ALERTS: If you haven’t registered for emergency alerts, please do so at ReadySBC.org. Click on the red icon to register to receive emergency alerts via text, phone call, and email.  

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Posted in Press Releases.
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