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High fire season for all areas of Santa Barbara County has begun

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Posted at 7:25 PM, May 20, 2022

On Friday, Santa Barbara County fire departments came together to form a united front and declare the beginning of high fire season for all areas of Santa Barbara County.

"Yeah, we're looking at a potentially really strong fire season, unfortunately," said Chief Greg Fish, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District.

Firefighters say the combination of drought and windy conditions is setting California up for a lethal fire season.

"The sundowners that we've experienced in Santa Barbara County recently have been unprecedented," Chief Fish said.

With more windy days than usual due to sundowner winds, Fish says drought conditions will likely play a role in the next fire.

"That's what happens when trees aren't getting watered properly. It creates a receptive fuel bed and just allows the fire to spread that much more," he said.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department currently has hand crews on the ground throughout California and in neighboring states.

"We currently have our hand crew in New Mexico. Usually, New Mexico is a good cursor of what California is going to do," said Chief Anthony Stornetta, Santa Barbara County Fire Department Interim Operations Chief.

To prepare for fire season, fire officials recommend creating defensible space around your property, having a plan in place for you and your family, and boxing your eaves.

"The zero zone, which is zero to five feet, all the way out to about 250 feet there should be no combustibles next to your home within that first five feet," Fish said.

Fire officials also mentioned the possibility of homes burning from the inside out. They said this happens as a result of vents to attics or eaves combusting and explained how to prevent this from happening.

"Boxing your eaves with stucco on the outside and putting a mesh that's one-eighth steel or smaller in your attic vents," Fish said.

During high fire season, all burn permits for residential burning and hazard reduction will be suspended.