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Evacuations ordered for recent Santa Barbara County burn areas

Posted at 1:09 PM, Feb 01, 2019

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation order for the Thomas, Whittier and Sherpa fire burn areas because of a forecasted storm system expected to hit the Central Coast late Friday night into early Saturday morning.

The order goes into effect at 8 p.m. Friday. Residents living in areas identified in the debris flow risk map below and at are asked to leave by that time.

County emergency officials say residents living adjacent to the debris flow risk areas should also consider evacuating because those areas could become isolated following a debris flow.

A Red Cross Evacuation Center will be located at the Goleta Valley Community Center at 5679 Hollister Ave. It is scheduled to open at 7 p.m.

Visit Santa Barbara has also compiled a list of hotels offering special rates for evacuees. Click here to view the list.

People who need assistance evacuating animals should contact the Animal Hotline at (805) 681-4332. Dogs and cats needing sheltering can be taken to the Santa Barbara Humane Society at 5339 Overpass Rd. Other small animals can be taken to Santa Barbara County Animal Services at 5473 Overpass Rd. Large animals can be taken to the Earl Warren Showgrounds at 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara.

Any other questions can be directed to the Emergency Call Center at (833) 688-5551.

KSBY News meteorologist Dave Hovde is forecasting peak rainfall rates of .5-1 inch per hour during the storm, with 1.25 inches per hour in upper foothill locations. In the Thomas Fire burn area, the heaviest rain is expected to fall between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Saturday.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department along with the fire departments in Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria/Summerland, Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Vandenberg Air Force Base are reportedly increasing their staffing levels during the storm. Increased staffing will add additional fire engines, bulldozers, excavators, helicopters, hand crews, urban search and rescue, and swift water rescue team members available to respond to emergencies throughout the county.