Vehicle burglary warning issued
SANTA BARBARA — The Santa Barbara Police Department has issued a warning following a rash of vehicle burglaries and thefts from vehicles at Arroyo Beach Park and other beachfront parking areas.
Residents are reminded to be aware of suspicious activity stemming from high-traffic areas, such as retail parking lots or beachfront parking areas. The constant turnover and activity aids a thief’s ability to blend in with the environment, said Anthony Wagner, police spokesman.
“Recently, there has been a rash of vehicle burglaries and theft from vehicles at the Arroyo Burro Beach Park (Hendry’s Beach) as well as other beachfront parking areas and trailheads,” Mr. Wagner said. “Police suspect professional crews are specifically targeting those areas due to high value opportunities. The vehicles are often accessed while locked with the use of tools to force entry.”
Oftentimes, thieves steal a couple of credit cards and return the wallet or purse to its original location. The thieves proceed to rack up charges before unsuspecting victims realize the cards have been taken, Mr. Wagner said.
Residents are reminded to lock their car and take their keys with them, as numerous stolen cars are taken because the keys or key fob is left inside while the vehicle is unlocked. Do not leave purses, backpacks, wallets, phones or anything else of value, in your parked vehicle.
Locals are also urged to remove holiday gifts from their trunks as soon as possible to prevent them from being stolen, Mr. Wagner said.
“Do your part. Remain aware, help us catch these thieves by reporting any observed suspicious activity by calling 911,” he said.
— Mitchell White
Controlled burn resumed Friday
LOS ALAMOS — A state-approved controlled burn of approximately 70 acres of vegetation resumed Friday, taking place roughly four miles southeast of Los Alamos.
The burn resumed the activity conducted Nov. 11 and 12. Burning operations of sage scrub and Oak Woodland will only occur on permissive burn days at the BarM Ranch, also known as Barham Ranch, near Los Alamos.
The burn will reduce old growth fuel loads, with a range improvement component. Prescribed, or planned, fires typically burn less intensely than wildfires, and can help prevent the spread of wildfires while reducing impacts to watersheds that can result in soil loss and sedimentation.
The burn will be conducted when the meteorological conditions are highly favorable to direct smoke away from population centers, officials said.
— Mitchell White
Report: power lines sparked Drum Fire
LOMPOC — The Santa Barbara County Fire Department has announced that the Drum Fire that charred nearly 700 acres this past summer was caused by a Pacific Gas and Electric power line that failed and arced to the ground.
The fire, reported just before 1 p.m. June 14 in the area of Drum Canyon Road and State Route 246, consumed approximately 696 acres of wildland area. No structures were damaged or destroyed, according to fire officials.
An examination team identified, interpreted and documented fire pattern indicators throughout the fire area and identified the fire’s origin was located north of a PG&E pole.
“The fire was caused when the Pacific Gas and Electric east electrical conductor… failed and contacted the ground,” a summary of the incident read. “The energized electrical conductor arced to ground igniting the surrounding vegetation causing the Drum Fire.
“All other fire cause categories identified within the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s, Guide to Wildland Fire Origin and Cause Determination except for Power Lines were eliminated as potential causes.”
— Mitchell White
Closures planned for Highway 101 project
CARPINTERIA — Several lane closures are planned next week as work continues on the Linden and Casitas Pass Highway 101 widening project in Carpinteria.
From 9 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday, one northbound lane will be closed from Bailard Avenue to Santa Claus Lane, as well as from North Padaro Lane to Sheffield Drive. The closure will also include the onramps and offramps at Evans Avenue, Ortega Hill Road and Sheffield Drive. Similar intermittent overnight closures are planned Monday through Thursday, according to Caltrans officials.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, the northbound onramp at Linden Avenue will be closed as work crews transplant palm trees.
From 9 p.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. Monday, one southbound lane will be closed from Sheffield Drive to North Padaro Lane, as well as from Santa Claus Lane to Casitas Pass Road. The closure will also include the offramp at Evans Avenue and the onramps at Wallace Avenue and Santa Claus Lane.
A similar closure will be enforced during overnight hours Monday to Thursday.
The southbound onramp at Sheffield Drive will be closed for the duration of the project. The offramp at Sheffield Drive will be closed for up to 16 months.
Flaggers will be in place to direct traffic at the San Ysidro Road and North Jameson Lane intersection during morning peak periods, from 7:30 to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday. New stop signs will be installed to create a four-way, stop-controlled intersection at the southbound 101 offramp and San Ysidro Road. Flaggers will assist in this area as needed.
The combination of new stop signs and flaggers will enable a better flow of traffic during the detour that uses the southbound 101 offramp at San Ysidro Road.
The southbound onramp and offramp at Reynolds Avenue remains closed for up to 16 weeks, and the offramp at Casitas Pass Road will be closed for at least six weeks.
Crews are working on drainage improvements on southbound 101 between Carpinteria and Reynolds avenues, as well as the highway ramps at Reynolds Avenue. Electrical work is also being done on the Reynolds freeway ramps.
The landscaping contractor is working on new irrigation lines and will then move over near Casitas Pass and Carpinteria Creek to install plants.
— Mitchell White