Saturday, March 17 , 2018, 3:17 pm | A Few Clouds 58º


Spanish Translation, Live Radio Broadcast Available for Fire Forum

On-site Spanish language translation services will be available at the Gap Fire Burn Area Community Forum. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at the San Marcos High School Auditorium, 4750 Hollister Ave.

Spanish-speaking residents will be able to check out wireless devices for free that will provide them with a live Spanish-language translation of the meeting as it occurs.

In addition, the county is working with the San Marcos Pass Emergency Radio Station 1040-AM to broadcast the meeting live on the radio station. The audio-only live feed also will be simulcast on the county government access cable television station Channel 20 Thursday night in support of the 1040-AM broadcast.

Channel 20 also will be recording the meeting and will broadcast the meeting several times throughout the rest of the year. Check online at the county’s Web site,, for broadcast dates and times.

County 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf and 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone are hosting the event. Information about the county’s post-fire efforts, flood insurance availability and other Gap Fire-related information will be presented at a special meeting.

Joining in the event are several county departments, including the Office of Emergency Services, public works, fire, sheriff and public health. The city of Goleta will be participating along with the Santa Barbara Chapter of the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Weather Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Information tables with displays about emergency preparedness from the various agencies represented at the meeting will be available for the public in the auditorium’s lobby.

The Santa Barbara County Public Works Department has begun an aggressive effort to clean out creeks, streams and other drainage areas below the Gap Fire burn area that are at risk of being flooded because of possible increased storm water runoff this winter.

The U.S. Forest Service has estimated to county officials that as much as 300,000 cubic yards of dirt, muddy debris and other burnt material could flow down the steep slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains into the city of Goleta and other county areas because the 9,940-acre Gap Fire denuded the area of vegetation. A typical commercial dump truck has a capacity of only about 10 cubic yards.

While the county is doing what it can to prepare for a worst-case scenario, county officials are suggesting that residents and local businesses consider purchasing flood insurance and to have emergency supplies and plans ready.

In particular, residents and business owners need to be aware that flood insurance must be purchased ahead of time in order for the policy to be in effect for the winter. A minimum 30-day grace period is standard for most flood insurance policies from date of purchase before claims can be made.

William Boyer is Santa Barbara County‘s communications director.

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