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Most residents evacuate as Santa Barbara Co. warns of storm danger in burn scar areas

Posted at 10:50 PM, Mar 05, 2019

On Tuesday, parts of Montecito referred to as the “Red Zone” were forced to evacuate for the third time this year.

Preparing for incoming storms has become all too familiar for some Montecito residents.

“After multiple evacuations, each time I evacuate, my go bag gets smaller. We moved some stuff out for the winter this year because we knew this was going to happen,” said Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade, Abraham Powell.

Parts of Montecito were put under mandatory evacuation again, something Powell says is tiring but extremely necessary.

“We live in the debris flow risk area so we have to evacuate our family every time. We get tired of it, but we’ve seen what happens when people don’t evacuate and a debris flow happens. We lost friends, we lost neighbors and it’s not worth the risk,” said Powell.

Businesses and homeowners in the “Red Zone” were forced to be out by 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says out of 1,389 homes checked, deputies encountered 260 homes with people staying behind.

“There’s always people who stay and there were people who stayed last time and the problem with that is if something bad happens, you could die and the other problem is it makes it more dangerous for the first responders,” Powell said.

Local businesses say the frequent evacuations have caused them to get more strategic with their planning.

“I think it’s affecting people’s income a little bit definitely, and in terms of working, we get a bunch of boxes in so we had to reschedule a big shipment that was due to come in today. So you definitely have to work it into your plan,” said Wendy Foster Sales Associate, Cara Koppel.

Many public safety agencies including the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office have more staff members working Tuesday night than usual just to make sure they’re ready in case this powerful storm causes damage in this area. ​