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Emergency managers monitor severe weather in south Santa Barbara County

Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 14, 2023

Evacuation orders issued Tuesday morning for residents living near the Thomas, Cave and Alisal fire burn scars in southern Santa Barbara County were canceled at 5:30 p.m.

“I think one of our concerns is that the community is going to start to fatigue and not want to evacuate, so we are really monitoring the conditions, making sure that when we do order those evacuations this is really a concern. It is not just another rainstorm, there are other factors such as the saturation on the ground,” said Kelly Hubbard, emergency manager for the County of Santa Barbara.

Hubbard and a collective of agencies monitored the storm conditions throughout the day to determine when to lift the mandate.

She said local fire departments, law enforcement, flood control and swift water rescue teams have all been involved in the storm response efforts. They advise everyone to stay off the road during the storms unless travel is absolutely necessary.

Hubbard said additional parts of the county beyond the burn scar areas may also be vulnerable to storm damage.

“We do have concerns about areas that had debris flows or road washouts in the last couple of storms, so the concern there is that some of those residents might become isolated,” she said. “We are encouraging those residents to be prepared, that they have extra supplies at home, that they are paying attention, looking, and taking it slow on the roadways.”

Hubbard added that crews have also been keeping a close eye on parts of northern Santa Barbara County as evacuation warnings were put in place for some residents in Guadalupe near Pioneer Street.