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Santa Maria firefighters provide mutual aid in Montecito

Posted at 11:17 PM, Jan 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-15 16:44:36-05

Twelve Santa Maria firefighters headed to Montecito Tuesday morning to provide mutual aid during the heavy storm.

Santa Barbara County officials issued evacuation orders for people living beneath the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier burn scar areas Monday afternoon, saying the storms expected between Tuesday and Thursday could trigger debris flows.

They asked people to evacuate by 10 a.m.

Santa Maria Fire tweeted out its support Monday night.

Fire Battalion Chief Mike Barneich says some of the firefighters sent to Montecito Tuesday responded to the mudslide last year.

“The first time we did a pre-position last year was when the actual debris flows happened and then we did another couple pre-positions after that,” he said. “This has become pretty routine for us when we’ve got reports of significant rainfall.”

While the crews are in Montecito, Barneich says Santa Maria Fire stations will remain fully staffed.

“If everything goes without hits then they’ll be down there until about 8 or 9 tonight,” he added. “If there’s an incident then there’s no telling, anytime between tonight and two weeks.”