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Flash flood warning, evacuations issued for Montecito, 3 burn scar areas

All of Montecito is being told to evacuate
Refugio Road.JPG
Posted at 11:28 AM, Jan 09, 2023

UPDATE (4 p.m.) - Another press conference is scheduled for 4 p.m. Watch live here.


UPDATE (12:35 p.m.) - Evacuation orders for Southern Santa Barbara County have been expanded and now include all of the town of Montecito and four campgrounds, among other places.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown says all 15 zones of the town south of Santa Barbara are included in the evacuation order. Additional orders have also been issued for Toro Canyon, Padaro Lane from Calle Real to Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria, Sicamore Canyon, and the Old San Marcos area – the Painted Cave area and below.

Evacuation orders were also issued for four campgrounds from Rincon to Gaviota.

People are asked to avoid driving unless evacuating.

Officials say the evacuation order for the Alisal Fire burn area is in place but those residents are being told to shelter-in-place and get to higher ground as the road leading into and out of the area – Refugio Road – is currently impassable.

Officials say parents and guardians working to pick their children up from school will be allowed through road closures.

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ORIGINAL STORY: Santa Barbara County officials are once again ordering mandatory evacuations for people living within three Southern Santa Barbara County burn scar areas, but not until a flash flood warning has ended.

Emergency alerts went out to people in parts of Santa Barbara County, including Lompoc, shortly before 11 a.m. Monday advising of the flash flooding potential.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown says they do not want people leaving now as they want everyone sheltering in place and staying inside for the time being.

SB City OES @SBCityOES · 19s A SHELTER IN PLACE has been issued for the Alisal Fire area due to flooding. Refugio Rd is impassable. Do not attempt to leave. Cave and Thomas Evac Warning remains in effect.

Once the flash flooding warning has ended, evacuation orders for the Alisal, Cave and Thomas Fire burn scar areas will go into effect. People in those areas may also hear of the notifications over loudspeakers.

For the latest on evacuations and other emergency alert information, click here.

Sheriff Brown says the storm, expected to intensify Monday before a second wave hits Tuesday morning and also bringing strong wind gusts, has the potential to cause basins in Southern Santa Barbara County to overflow, which could also impact Highway 101.

Santa Barbara County Fire says they are already responding to several reports of downed trees and other hazards and have also responded to a rescue in Refugio Canyon.

The Loma Fire burn scar area is not currently under evacuation orders but the area is being patrolled and monitored should things change.

An evacuation shelter has been established at Wake Center, 300 N. Turnpike in Santa Barbara.

For small animal support, call (805) 681-4332. For large animal support, call (805) 892-4484.

To reach the Santa Barbara County call center, call (833) 688-5551. Mental health clinical support is also available by calling that number. Additional information can also be found by calling 211.

Monday, Jan. 9 marks five years since a debris flow killed 23 people in Montecito. Montecito Fire Chief Kevin Taylor says the area is at extreme risk of another debris flow Monday due to the conditions. He says they have more than 200 people ready to respond.

Rain rates already have been over an inch per hour, which can cause flash flooding and debris flows, especially in burn scar areas.