Montecito residents, businesses relieved as evacuation orders ar - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Montecito residents, businesses relieved as evacuation orders are lifted

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Evacuation orders for all burn areas of Santa Barbara County were lifted as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. After being evacuated overnight, residents were relieved to be able to return home once again.

"I'm happy to be home. It's definitely an inconvenience to leave when they tell us to leave, but better safe than sorry," said Ali Oshinsky, a Montecito resident.

Businesses reopened their doors and are back up and running, also relieved that they didn't have to close down for long but hoping they won't have to lose business again.

"I want it to get back to normal to where we can just open every day and not have to worry about, can we open? Or is it, what's going to happen? So it's just like nerve-racking," said Richie Ramirez, owner of Richie's Barber Shop.

Officials said Tuesday's anticipated rains didn't hit as strongly as expected. That's good news when it comes to the potential for debris flows, but officials are afraid people will stop following orders after several evacuations.

"I hope that's not the case. We all just need to realize this isn't an exact science. It's an inconvenience for everybody, but in order to lean towards life safety, we are just going to have to continue to do it until we get vegetation on the hillsides," said Fire Chief Chip Hickman, Montecito Fire Department.

There are several storms expected to move through the area over the next week and officials said they will monitor each of these storms. However, at this time, none of the coming storms appear to be strong enough to trigger debris flows.

Still, officials ask everyone to have their bags ready for future evacuations.

"Yeah, if we have to evacuate, we will definitely evacuate. We'll shut down if we have to," Ramirez added.

"I just don't think it's worth it. If the worst thing were to happen again, I don't want to be home for that and I am willing to pack and unpack my bags, pack my bags over and over again," Oshinsky said.

Officials said evacuations are possible for the next year or two. They said if there is a potential for danger, they will move people out again.

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