Santa Barbara County Not Taking Chances In Burn Areas With Storm; Massive Evacuations Ordered

Jan 7, 2018

What's expecting to be the first significant storm of the year to hit the Central and South Coast has prompted massive evacuation orders for parts of Santa Barbara County.

Forecasters say the storm could bring two to four inches of rain to coastal and inland areas, and four to six inches in foothills and mountains between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

The storm comes even as firefighters are still working to get full containment of the 282,000 acre Thomas Fire, which has scorched mountains above communities from Montecito and Summerland to Ventura, Ojai, and Fillmore.

Mandatory evacuation orders go into effect at noon on Monday for the area north of Highway 192 from the Ventura County line west to Cold Springs Road, in Montecito.  A voluntary evacuation order will be in effect south of Highway 192 to the ocean from the Ventura County line west to Hot Springs, and Olive Mill Roads.

Officials say flash flooding, and debris flows could happen in the areas above Summerland and Montecito with little or no notice, so they want to get people out early.  The heaviest rainfall is expected to come overnight Monday into Tuesday.

They also caution while the attention is on the Thomas Fire, there is the same risk for the Whittier, Sherpa, and Rey Fire burn areas.  There are interactive maps of the impacted areas, with evacuation information at countyofsb.org.  You can get updates on the situation in Ventura County at readyventuracounty.org.