Debris flow ceremony will be streamed live on Saturday
Saturday will mark three years since the devastating debris flow event impacted the coastal community of Montecito.
In consideration of the pandemic stay-at-home orders, a team of community partners will host this year’s commemorative event as a livestream on both Zoom and Facebook Live.
The ceremony to honor the lives of those who were lost, titled “An Evening of Remembrance, Solidarity and Hope,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday with an invocation from Montecito Fire Protection District Chief Kevin Taylor.
Firefighters will then light 23 candles in honor of the 23 victims of the debris flow, which will be followed by a moment of silence.
Local churches and schools will then ring 23 bells, and a searchlight will be lit at Montecito Union School, as a “symbol of community support and solidarity for the victims and survivors alike,” read a news release.
Sharon Byrne, executive director for the Montecito Association, explained that although large gatherings are not permitted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Montecito still suffered “a serious collective trauma.”
Organizers hope for the event to serve as a container for that trauma.
“We want to be able to try and help people get a handle on their emotions and everything that comes up this time of year,” she said.
South Coast residents are invited to join in during the virtual ceremony, allowing them to remain at home without risking their health while still being involved with the community.
Event organizers said it is normal to experience feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness near the anniversary of a disaster, and this year will be especially challenging given the health restrictions in place.
“We are not able to gather together in person as we normally would, but this should not stop us from supporting each other,” organizers said. “We can gather by phone, Zoom and most definitely, know that we are all sharing the feelings and memories of this day, together.”
Organizers also offered tips for coping, which include sharing stories, memories and feelings with others.
“Accept kindness and help from others,” organizers said. “Support from family and friends is critical to healing.”
The country’s Community Wellness Team formed in the wake of the fire and debris flow remain active in the community to offer support. The team can be reached at 805-364-2750.
To register for this Zoom event, visit: zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_LqkfbBJrTmast2OaO-T9Jg.
To view the event on Facebook Live, visit www.facebook.com/events/739029386724029.
A recording of the event will be available on Jan. 12, and a link will be posted on the
Raising Our Light web page, www.sbbucketbrigade.org/raisingourlight.
Event organizers encourage attendees to RSVP at the Facebook event, at
For more information, go to the event website or call the Montecito Association at 805-636-0475.