Monday, May 21 , 2018, 3:29 pm | Mostly Cloudy 68º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Montecito Fire Update: Residents Urged to Keep Their Guard Up

An elderly evacuee dies. No new evacuation orders have been issued, but officials say residents south of APS and west of Mission Canyon need to be ready to go on a moment’s notice.

Many homes on lower Conejo Road were reduced to smoldering rubble by the fast-moving Tea Fire.
Many homes on lower Conejo Road were reduced to smoldering rubble by the fast-moving Tea Fire. (Sgt. Noel Rivas / Santa Barbara Police Department photo)

As the estimated number of scorched homes in the Tea Fire grew to more than 150 on Friday, lighter-than-expected winds helped firefighters keep the blaze from spreading. A feared reappearance of the strong winds that fueled the fire’s ferocity Thursday night failed to materialize Friday night.

(Click here to see map of evacuation and evacuation-warning areas.)

Santa Barbara Fire Chief Ron Prince said that as of 4 p.m. Friday, the boundaries of the fire had not changed much since early morning: Las Canoas Road on the west, Cold Spring Canyon on the east, Rattlesnake Canyon on the north and Alameda Padre Serra on the south.

Officials had feared Friday night’s winds could reach 30 mph, less than half the speed of Thursday night’s disastrous gusts, but they turned out to be far milder. Still, they face the dismal prospect of fighting fires in temperatures that could reach the upper 80s this weekend.

“It’s not a time to relax,” Santa Barbara County Deputy Fire Chief Tom Franklin said. The fire, officials said, is “zero-percent contained.”

Although the blaze has not directly resulted in any deaths, officials Friday said a 98-year-old man with medical problems died after being evacuated to a hotel.

The fast-moving Tea Fire gave residents little time to evacuate.
The fast-moving Tea Fire gave residents little time to evacuate. (Sgt. Noel Rivas / Santa Barbara Police Department photo)
No new evacuation orders have been issued, but officials say residents south of Alameda Padre Serra and west of Mission Canyon need to be ready to go on a moment’s notice.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown credited helicopter pilots who dropped buckets of water on the blaze through the night Thursday, all while wearing night-vision goggles.

“We are one of the very few counties in the U.S. with that capability,” he said.

In all, 5,500 people have been evacuated.

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