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UPDATE: Evacuations lifted for southern Santa Barbara Co. burn scar areas

Posted at 2:14 PM, Jan 04, 2023

UPDATE (9:48 a.m.) - Santa Barbara County says evacuation orders for people within the Thomas, Alisal and Cave Fire burn areas were lifted as of 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

ORIGINAL STORY: Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown announced Wednesday that mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for three burn scar areas in southern Santa Barbara County due to the possibility of potential flooding and debris flows.

The impacted areas are the Thomas, Alisal and Cave Fire burn scars.

County officials say the atmospheric river storm hitting the Central Coast has the potential to produce flooding and mud and debris flows.

"We are in the beginning stages of a major storm, a powerful event that will be a multi-hour storm that has the potential to cause major problems across the county, especially in the burn scar areas of the Thomas, Alisal and Cave fires," Sheriff Brown said.

To find out whether you are in the evacuation zone, you can enter your address on the county website.

Sheriff Brown asked people not to call 911 with questions about the notifications but instead to call 211 or the Office of Emergency Management at 833-688-5551.

People can also head to for more information.

The evacuation orders went into effect starting at 3 p.m.

The Santa Barbara City College Wake Campus located at 300 N. Turnpike Rd. in Santa Barbara is set up as an Evacuation Center. For more information about the evacuation center, contact the American Red Cross at 805-678-3073.

For animal evacuation information, call Santa Barbara County Animal Services at 805-681-4332 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., or after hours at 805-683-2724.

County officials are also encouraging people not to drive while it is dark or raining as roads may be damaged and your car may be swept away by moving water or debris. Strong winds can also cause debris to fall onto roadways and power outages.

They say you should be prepared to sustain yourself and your household for multiple days if you choose not to evacuate, as you may not be able to leave the area and emergency responders may not be able to access your property in the event of road damage, flooding, or a debris flow.