A massive wildfire hit Santa Barbara County in July of 2017, burning more than 18,000 acres, trapping hundreds of people, destroying 16 homes and threatening thousands of houses before it was fully contained.
KCLU was on the air an hour after the fire started, and provided extensive coverage even though the blaze was 75 miles from the station's main studios (but well within our coverage area). During the first 16 hours. KCLU's Lance Orozco was on the air with regular updates.
The threat subsided two days later, but nearly a week into the blaze the weather threatened to send the flames into some heavily populated areas outside of Santa Barbara. Because we only have one full-time newsperson, we have a system which allows us to dial in from the field, and go on the air without anyone in master control. This is a sampling of some of the reports from that critical night (July 14th).