While wildfires pose a significant threat to Santa Barbara County residents year-round, this time of year is high fire season. The fire incident we had over the Fourth of July holiday weekend near US 101 Freeway and Fairview Avenue is a good reminder that fires don’t stop for pandemics and we need to remain vigilant. Fortunately our Santa Barbara County firefighters were able to knock the fires out quickly.
Santa Barbara County has put together the tips below to help you before and during a wildfire.
Before a Wildfire
- Create defensible space around your home. This space serves as a buffer between your property and vegetation surrounding it. Click here to download the Defensible Space and Hardening Your Home brochure.
- Make the inside and outside of your home safer and more resilient to wildfires. Review the Homeowners Checklist on How to Make Your Home Fire Safe.
- Create an emergency plan that includes designated meeting locations outside of the fire or hazard area, several escape routes, and a communication plan. Review and practice your plan with your family and housemates. Include in your plan the evacuation of any pets and large animals.
- Know where to find the gas, electric and water main shutoff controls in your home, and what tools you need to turn them off.
- Assemble an emergency kit with food, water, medication, a portable radio, emergency contacts and other critical supplies important to you and your family.
- Register for ReadySBC Alerts to stay informed and receive local alerts during an emergency, including any evacuation warnings or orders issued during a fire.
During a Wildfire: Pre-Evacuation Preparation
When a wildfire occurs in your area, leave early for the safety of you and your family. Leaving early also keeps roads clear of congestion and helps firefighters move more freely to do their job.
Do not wait for any evacuation warning or order to leave if you feel threatened by a wildfire.
If the wildfire is not an immediate threat to you or your home, and time allows, follow these pre-evacuation steps:
- Alert family, friends and neighbors of the wildfire threat.
- Place your emergency kit in the car, or have it ready by the front door.
- Dress in clothing to protect against heat and flying embers. Wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt, heavy shoes/boots, a cap, a dry bandanna, goggles or glasses. 100% cotton is preferable.
- Stay tuned to updates on local TV, radio stations, social media, and ReadySBC.org.
- Remain close to your house, drink plenty of water and keep an eye on your family and pets until you are ready to leave.
- Review this home evacuation checklist to prepare the inside and outside of your home.
Ready! Set! Go!
The Santa Barbara County Fire Department launched Ready! Set! Go! as a new approach to educating residents about the local threats of wildfire and how to prepare. To learn about this program, visit https://www.sbcfire.com/ready-set-go/.
- In the event of an emergency, call 911. For general non-emergencies, call the Sheriff Office Dispatch at (805) 683-2724.
- Register to receive ReadySBC Alerts. If we can’t reach you, we can’t alert you.
Pictured: Photo from the Southbound US 101 at Fairview Avenue on-ramp, courtesy of Mike Eliason with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.