Santa Barbara On Fire. Again.

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.

Fire on the Horizon

Tuesday evening a fire started in the brush up by Lizards’ Mouth, just a little northeast from Goleta. It started out small and firefighters got on it right away, but then by Wednesday evening it started to get quite large. It even cut out electricity for several hours in Goleta. Here’s a picture Toby took of it, from his parents’ house:

As you can see here, you can definitely see the flames from their house, which is off Patterson.

Everyone up from Glenn Annie and in the La Patera Canyon have been evacuated. People between Glenn Annie and Fairview are on evacuation warning.

I’m really hoping this gets contained soon, but that brush up there hasn’t burned since a fire in the 1950s. According to the latest news reports, the fire is only 5% contained.

I’m worried for Toby’s family’s house for all the obvious reasons. But I’m also worried for our wedding reception as it is being held there. If they don’t contain this soon, we’ll have to come up with a contingency plan quickly. Don’t get me wrong–I’m definitely concerned about the people whose homes are threatened and all–but I can’t help feeling I’ll be upset if this significantly changes my wedding plans and things don’t turn out as nicely as I hoped. I’m not trying to be selfish or unreasonable. It’s just that I’ve been dreaming about this for a year and half now, thinking meticulously about every little detail. And it’s not stubbornness–it’s just I feel like if things don’t work out nicely it’s like there will always be a little tinge of regret that I didn’t get to see my dream totally come true. Normally I’m pretty roll-with-the-flow I think, and I don’t get my panties all in a twist if things don’t turn out the way I expect. But this is different. It’s hard to explain.

And another part of me is thinking back to our “playa wedding” at Burning Man which got derailed by a major dust storm. Sure it makes for a good story now, but it’s hard not to take it as a bad omen. I mean, seriously, we’re going two for two here. Why does something vaguely apocalyptic always have to happen when Toby and I try to get married? Well at least we’ll have a total of 3 ceremonies. Third time’s a charm, right?

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