After the rampages of the Gap Fire and the Tea Fire which burned 200+ homes last year, Santa Barbara is on fire yet again. A new fire just started, burning more than 4 acres already in the San Roque Canyon in just a manner of minutes. Plumes of smoke are rising in thick columns up the mountains. Evacuation orders are issued for Tunnel, Foothill, Spyglass and Holly roads. The sounds of choppers and sirens fill the air as emergency crews enter the scene, and we’re expecting the dreaded sun-downer winds later tonight.
I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.
* All traffic on La Cumbre, north of State Street is being shut down.
* Orange Grove and Las Canoas roads and the area north of the Botanical Gardens are being evacuated.
* There are police reports that gunshots were heard in the area around the time the fire started.
* Winds are shifting to a southeasterly direction (as of 3:39 pm), which may push the fire down the slope.
* The Santa Barbara School District has cancelled class.
* As of 4:30 pm, more than 150 acres have burned. The entire canyon area has been evacuated.
* As of 10:00 pm, more than 400 acres have burned.
* CORRECTION: It appears the fire is not as large as originally thought. As of the morning it appears to have consumed less than 200 acres. However, it is not contained. Calm weather in the morning is helping, but strong winds are expected in the afternoon and evening. There is a lot of aerial support, but according to fire crews, teams on the ground is what is really needed to put this thing out–and that is difficult because the fire is burning up in very rough, very steep terrain.
**UPDATE: We are in the evacuation warning zone now, so we have packed up our stuff and hightailed it out of there.