Christina Favuzzi is new Montecito Fire public information officer
The timing was perfect.
Just when broadcast journalist Christina Favuzzi was looking for a new challenge in her career, a colleague alerted her that the Montecito Fire Department was looking for its first public information officer.
“I was speechless. Growing up in Santa Barbara, I have always been interested in wildfires. In fact, while I was at Cal Poly, I took a class in wildfire management,” Ms. Favuzzi told the News-Press. “I knew that if I was going to be a reporter in California, I would probably be covering wildfires frequently.”
The graduate of San Marcos High School earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo in 2015 and began working for KSBY-TV news, first as a freelance weekend reporter and ending her time there anchoring the daily morning show, “Daybreak,” from 3 a.m. to noon.
“I loved it. It was an honor to help people get out the door with vital information, and I also got out in the field to work with people in all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties,” said Ms. Favuzzi.
While at KSBY, she covered the Solimar, Sherpa, Whittier and Thomas fires.
“Those assignments were when I felt my role as a journalist mattered most. People’s lives were at stake. On live TV, I had the opportunity to talk to my hometown and relay the messages of incident commanders and firefighters on the line,” she said.
Memories of the Sherpa fire in the Gaviota/El Capitan area are especially vivid.
“It was in my community. I knew the area. It was sweltering hot, and my husband was on the line,” said Ms. Favuzzi who is married to Stan Atchison, a firefighter with the Paso Robles City Fire Department. The couple live in the Santa Ynez Valley.
In her new position as the first full time public information officer for Montecito Fire, she is the liaison between the department and media such as newspapers, television and radio and social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“I also work with the National Weather Service on a daily basis about weather conditions in the area,” said Ms. Favuzzi. “Right now, Santa Barbara County is in a severe drought with the high temperatures, lack of rain and dry vegetation so the danger of wildfires is extremely high.”
One of her top priorities is to educate the community about what to do to prepare their homes, themselves and their families for the possibility of a wildfire.
“On our website, www.montecitofire.com, we have a ‘Ready! Set! Go!’ checklist, which is an excellent resource whether people live in Montecito or anywhere in the state,” she said. “The Ready section tells how to prepare your home well in advance such as clearing brush away. The Set section is the evacuation checklist such as talking with your family and neighbors and connecting with loved ones in case you get separated.
“Go is as simple as it sounds and the most important. Go and go early when fire threatens. It can often allow the fire department to be more successful in saving your home.”
Ms. Favuzzi is also looking forward to doing outreach in the schools as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Once a month, she writes a column called “Hot Topics” for the Montecito Journal. In them, she shares stories about the Montecito Fire Department and what it is doing to protect, prepare and care for the community.
“For example, the fire department has initiated a neighborhood chipping program in a dozen areas in Montecito. It has arranged for a contractor to clear foliage and brush and trim trees free of charge,” said Ms. Favuzzi, who welcomes ideas, questions and suggestions for future columns.