Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Community Post: Account from the Fire

Thanks for posting the info Sara. I'm here in SYV. The winds are calm where I am which is a few miles away from where the evacuation area is. The fire information person who was answering everyone's questions today downtown said that today the winds had shifted again (a good thing).

Last night was a sudden shock & a wake up call to most of the residents who were accutely aware of the fire but not feeling threatened by it until everything changed at 8pm.

This was because the winds had shifted. It is all about the wind now.

I don't know if the 200 people who had to evacuate were allowed to go home or not. Its not just people, its livestock (horses etc). I think there are many more livestock than people in this area.

As big as this fire is getting, nature has been kind. Other than the heat and the rough terrain, the winds have been relatively mild & the humidity high. Both blessings. Hopefully things will remain so.

The fire men & women are everywhere you go. All amazing heros for what they do.

An anonymous donor set up a fund at the Los Olivos Market so that the folks fighting the fire could pick up whatever supplies they needed.

I love this valley.

PS I'm appreciating Ray Fords updates in the Indie & I am regularly checking in on the inciweb site every few hours- they are on top of it.



Blogger David Pritchett said...

Is this first-person report anonymous for a reason??

7/18/2007 7:30 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I had asked for a report in the earlier post and this was sent anonymously...

7/18/2007 5:59 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

It sounds like we're largely fortunate that the fire has not caused more damage.

We used to have more cattle in the area to graze down potential fire hazards. It seems we also had more support for control burns to clear brush and improve watershed and grazing land once upon a time.

Does the County and the forest service still have resources for such activity? Or has the loss of working ranches made political support for such operations go by the wayside?

Perhaps the legacy of losing viable ag/cattle operations in the area
is that smaller property owners need to review land management issues in exchange for having mini ranchitas, green ways and view space. Property owners in the County might want to look into this question.

Willie Chamberlain once suggested that Santa Barbara County cattle ranchers could be a valuable resource for managing brush in high fire danger areas.

Paying a rancher to put cows on the ground in spring to decrease fire danger in summer might be a cost effective move for the county and private property owners.

It also would help support the remaining ag operations who have maintained valuable wild land and watershed in the county for hundreds of years.

Cows grazing over thousands of acres can fight fire too. They're cheaper and more effective than our professional fire fighting technology.

Grazing cows are also far healthier than feedlot cattle who stand in huge corrals full of manure.

I say, MOOOOVE those cows and graze down that fire.

7/18/2007 6:56 PM  
Anonymous SYV stringer said...

I sent this in response to another post on the fire & signed in with the handle of SYV stringer which I thought was the protocol around here.

I prefer not to use my real name because I have found that often the most benign comments can set off some strange behavior in some who frequent internet blogs & so I'd just rather avoid my identity being part of that kind of strangness.

7/18/2007 9:56 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Thanks SYV - and I should have included that it was from your handle. My bad on that. Thanks for letting us know how things are in the Valley.

7/18/2007 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, this fire is burning in areas where goats & sheep rather than cows would be more suitable.

Back in the 1970's the forest service permitted an owner with hundreds of goats & sheep to graze them in the backcountry for these very reasons. Both benefited by the arrangment.

7/18/2007 11:36 PM  
Blogger michelle said...

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7/19/2007 12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This fire is located in a similar area to the Marre fire a few years ago. I had to evacuate my horses in that fire, and I am sure there are a number of volunteers helping evacuate livestock and put them up until the fire is safely out or away from the animals homes. Also, the fire personnel were incredible in how much care they took in protecting homes. The donations of goods and services to the firefighters is a small token for the efforts they make and the risks they take in fighting forest fires.

7/19/2007 8:11 AM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Think about how much more fire prevention would occur of all the vegetation were cut down, and the whole landscape become some of Mike Brown's "villages" of 50,000 people, all with fire hydrants everywhere with overpriced water originating from the snows of far northern California.

7/19/2007 11:59 AM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

Hi All,

11:36 I take your point about the terrain. I do know that sheep and goats are voracious eaters of wild shrubs and brush. In the Santa Ynez Valley Watershed, properly managing brush increases runoff of water to the reservoirs that support our increasing urban populations and the revival of fish species.

And Streetfighter, since you mentioned growth in the county, this is one more reason in my opinion to strive for balance between ag and housing in a mixed use landscape. Local, sustainable ag is a real benefit in the county.

This will be particularly obvious in the next few years, given the sale of the huge Cojo-Jalama Ranch properties to developers from the east. These properties have little water to support growth or protect environmental concerns.

7/19/2007 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Driving through the valley last night we could see the glow from the flames which made me realize the fire had come closer. I checked the inciweb site & the evacuations & warnings are back. It is still a very dangerous situation for this area.

"Significant Events: An EVACUATION ORDER has been issued for the Peachtree Community. An EVACUATION WARNING has been issued for Happy Canyon Road up to Baseline Avenue. With the current warming and drying trend, active burning continued throughout the night in the uncontained, southeast area of the fire. Approximately 1000 acres burned in a southeast direction since yesterday with areas burning out of the San Rafael Wilderness, including two spot fires. The relative humidity recovery overnight was very minimal, only reaching into the mid twenties. Active burning is predicted to continue today, as single digit relative humidities and temperatures into the mid 90s prevail in the fire area. Columns and drift smoke are likely to be seen throughout the Central Coast. While the fire burns in old and heavy fuel, fire crews and air attack are continuing to work diligently to bring this fire to full containment."

7/29/2007 11:53 AM  

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