cal coast news

(U.S. Forest Service photo)

He’s a firefighter, like hundreds of firefighters from the Central and South Coasts.

But Brian Pontes doesn’t use a fire truck to get to blazes. The Santa Barbara County man is part of a rare breed of firefighters who literally drops in on brush, and forest fires in some of the most remote parts of Western America.

A bill by a Ventura County legislator intended to continue efforts to promote energy savings is now headed to the Governor’s desk for his consideration.

AB 797 would extend incentives for people to use solar energy instead of natural gas or wood to heat water or air. It calls for the renewal through 2020 of a current program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by offering rebates for those using solar systems.

The legislation passed by the State Assembly and State Senate was authored by Democratic Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin of Thousand Oaks.

(U.S. Forest Service photo)

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An unusual brush fire on the South Coast is being mopped up by an even more unusual team of firefighters.

Smoke jumpers dropped in to battle, and stop a lightning-sparked brush fire burning on Santa Cruz Island.

A boater spotted the fire at about 9 a.m. Monday in the Scorpion Canyon area.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

An unusual brush fire not on, but off the South Coast led to an even more unusual response.

A boater spotted a brush fire on Santa Cruz Island just after 9 Monday morning in the Scorpion Canyon area. A team of four U.S. Forest Service smoke jumpers was dispatched from Porterville to battle the lighting-caused fire.

They were dropped into the area from a fixed-wing plane at around 1 p.m., and spent the afternoon working to corral the estimated one tenth of an acre fire. Full containment is expected by Tuesday morning.

It’s been weeks since the Secretary of the Interior proposed reducing protections for more than two dozen National Monuments, including one in our region.

Ryan Zinke sent his report to the White House August 24th, but hasn’t released details of the action he is actually proposing.

Some local members of Congress issued a new call for the information to be made public.

(Photo by Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department)

The Central and South Coasts had a spectacular overnight show Sunday into Monday courtesy of Mother Nature, as thunderstorms brought lightning, and locally heavy rainfall to parts of the region.

There were concerns about the potential for flash flooding in areas hit by recent brush fires, but no major problems were reported. But, some areas had more than a third of an inch of rain.

The possibility of thunderstorms remains in the weather forecast for Monday.

(Logo Courtesy

Ventura County is going to host a pro football team temporarily displaced by Hurricane Irma.

Oxnard officials say the Miami Dolphins will hold their practices in the city as they prepare for next Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The death penalty is going to be sought in the case of a man accused of murdering a Santa Barbara County family.

(Photoby Barry Weiss)

A unique new dance opera about the life of an acclaimed, but little known author from the 1920’s is premiering in Santa Barbara this weekend, after being performed in France, where the writer lived.

A Santa Barbara County non-profit is helping to provide shelter for some of the hundreds of thousands of people impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

The non-profit is called “ShelterBox USA,” and it provides tents, and other essential supplies like blankets and lamps so people who lose, or are displaced from their homes have a place to stay.

President Trump's decision to end the DACA program provoked a range of emotions on the Central and South Coasts, ranging from fear and sadness to outrage.

At Cal State Channel Islands, hundreds of people rallied to show support for those affected, and to try and develop a strategy to make their voices heard in Washington, D.C.

(Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office photo)

The search continues for a man wanted for kidnapping a Santa Barbara County woman, taking her on a three day ordeal across three states.

The Santa Barbara County woman was released unharmed Monday night in the Las Vegas area.

(Ventura County Fre Department Photo)

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a blaze which damaged two homes in Ventura County.

The fire was discovered at around 3:30 yesterday afternoon on the 700 block of Paige Lane in Thousand Oaks. The fire started in one home, and spread to one next store before firefighters could stop it.
No one was hurt.

(Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department Photo)

A Santa Barbara County woman believed to be the victim of a kidnapping may now be in Las Vegas.

(Ventura County Fire Department photo)

Two people had a brush with death when the light plane they were in crashed after takeoff in Ventura County.

The plane had just lifted off from Santa Paula Airport at around 2 p.m. Sunday when it apparently had engine problems. The plane crash landed in the Santa Clara River bottom, flipping over on impact.

The vintage biplane suffered heavy damage, but the two people on board were able to get out of the aircraft by themselves. No serious injuries were reported.

(Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department photo)

A Santa Barbara County woman believed to be the victim of a kidnapping has been spotted in Arizona.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s detectives believe that Virginia Paris was abducted by an ex-boyfriend in Solvang Friday night. Investigators think Joseph Hetzel took the 52 year old Lompoc woman, and forced her to drive east in the woman’s car.

(Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office photo)

A search is on for a Santa Barbara County woman authorities say may have been kidnapped.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s detectives say they have information that Virginia Paris was abducted in Solvang by her ex-boyfriend, Joseph Hetzel Friday night.

They think the two headed south in the 55 year old Lompoc woman’s car, and were last known to be in the Camarillo area. The car is a 2015 black Chrysler 200 with a California license plate of 7NGE514. Investigators say Paris was in the process of getting a restraining order against Hetzel.

It’s another day at school for Issac DeCuir.

The Ventura County teen likes the same things many high school age kids like, things like bowling, and video games. But, the high school junior is also a little different than most kids his age, because he’s living with autism.

He’s one of the 80 plus students at Triton Academy in Camarillo. It’s a unique campus run by the Ventura County Office of Education which is focused on helping children on the autism spectrum.

Some Cal State Channel Islands students are digging through a treasure trove of political history.

It’s eight decades of political memorabilia donated to the university by the family of a longtime political activist in Ventura County.  The students will not only research the hundreds of items in the collection, they'll catalog them , and create online and physical exhibitions.

(Ventura County Sheriff's Office Photo)

A South Coast neighborhood had an unusual, four legged visitor which created a big stir.

A bear cub wandered into the Ventura County community of Meiners Oaks Wednesday morning, spending most of the day there. The bear first turned up on the 100 block of North Felix Drive, and climbed up a tree. After a more than three hour stay it came down out of the tree, wandered through some yards, and then went up into another tree on the 100 block of North Lomita Avenue.

(CHP Photo)

A man wanted for a fatal hit and run collision in Ventura County in July has been arrested at Los Angeles International Airport.

CHP investigators say Patrick John McVicker was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers Wednesday morning. The 48 year old man was wanted for a July 6th collision on Highway 101 in Ventura.

A dock at Ventura County’s Channel Islands harbor has two unusual sights. On one end, more than a dozen sea lions have literally blocked the walkway, as they bask in the sun. Towards the other end is a sailboat, with one of its sails a huge peace symbol.

A ship many people call the world’s first “peace ship” is visiting the South Coast, as part of a West Coast tour.

A Santa Barbara County based relief agency is getting some badly needed medical supplies to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Direct Relief International already had ten modules of emergency supplies pre-positioned at medical clinics in Texas before the hurricane hit, and is preparing to ship millions of dollars worth more if needed.

(VCOE Photo)

A public school specifically focused on helping children on the autism spectrum in Ventura County is losing its home.

There is a major heat wave in the forecast for the Central and South Coasts starting at the tail end of this weekend.

Temperatures could be 10 to 18 degrees above average. By Monday, we could see temperatures in the 90’s on the coast, from 100 to 108 in the mountains, and highs from 102 to 110 in our valleys. There will be an increased fire danger as well.

National Weather Service forecasters say the extreme heat will be with us for a few days, and could possibly extend all the way through Labor Day.

It’s been a long two days for dozens of South Coast residents, who are now back in their homes after being evacuated due to a major leak on a gas pipeline.   What started as a routine inspection of an oil pipeline in Ventura County turned into something anything but routine.

An Emmy award winning actor, comedian, and disc jockey who lived in Santa Barbara for many years has died.

Jay Thomas was a DJ in Los Angeles, New York, and on Sirius radio for decades. But, he was perhaps best known for his stints on the TV sitcoms “Cheers” and “Murphy Brown.” He most recently was on Showtime’s “Ray Donovan.”

Thomas hosted one of his radio shows from his home in Santa Barbara for years. He was also active in the community, serving as one of the co-hosts of Santa Barbara’s “Unity Shoppe” telethon.

It’s high brush fire season on the Central and South Coasts, and that’s creating a lot of concern about the potential for dangerous blazes.

But, government leaders and public safety officials say there’s the potential for an even larger scale disaster which looms in the background: A mega-earthquake. Democratic State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara chaired a hearing in Sacramento to look at the question of how prepared are we for a huge temblor.

(SpaceX Photo)

The final countdown is on for the planned liftoff of a rocket carrying an earth-imaging satellite into space from Santa Barbara County.

A commercial rocket is set to lift a Taiwanese satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base midday Thursday.

It’s one of the most popular beaches on the South Coast, attracting an estimated 1.5 million visitors a year.

But, Santa Barbara County has spent an estimated two million dollars since 2015, and 12 million since 1995 to protect the beach, and its infrastructure like its pier, restrooms, and parking lots from storm-driven erosion. One top county leader is suggesting the county should get rid of it.