Officials concerned about Alisal Fire burn area because of Sunday’s expected rain
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation warning for parts of the 16,962-acre Alisal Fire burn area because of the rainstorm predicted for Sunday night.
The warning was issued at 6 p.m. Friday and involves the area west of Las Flores Canyon, east of Mariposa Reina, south of West Camino Cielo and down to the Pacific Ocean.
The expected rain means the possibility of debris flow and flooding.
“We estimate the peak rainfall will be between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. Monday,” National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Jackson said Friday at a news conference outside the County Office of Emergency Management in Santa Barbara.
He said the forecast calls for 1 to 3 inches of rain Sunday with “roughly higher amounts in the foothills.”
Mr. Jackson said that because of the fire’s impact on the soil, “any water that hits it will take loose mud, debris, any burned material down the slope.”
“What we see, even with smaller debris flows, is they can move very fast. You can’t outrun them,” said Mr. Jackson, who oversees the weather service’s Oxnard office. “Listen to evacuation orders if they’re given.”
Kelly Hubbard, director of the County Office of Emergency Management, explained an “evacuation warning” means people should be prepared to leave because of a possible threat to life and property. She explained an “evacuation order,” should one be issued, would mean the threat is immediate and that people should leave right away. She encouraged residents to maintain a “go kit,” which contains what you need for an immediate evacuation.
On its website (readysbc.org), the Office of Emergency Management advises, “If you feel threatened at any time, leave immediately. Do not wait for an alert to evacuate. People with disabilities, access and functional needs should leave now. People with large animals should leave now.”
For Evacuation Center information, call the American Red Cross at 805-901-0845.
Mark Hartwig, the Santa Barbara County fire chief, said his department’s swift water rescue team will be ready if flooding occurs.
On Friday evening, the Alisal Fire remained 97% contained.
Mr. Hartwig said 298 men and women are assigned to the fire.