May 8, 2009

Jesusita Fire Update in Santa Barbara

I've not had much to report in the last few days, and that's because since Tuesday afternoon at around 130pm, a fire started in the hills of Santa Barbara.

You've already read about how our Tuesday afternoon went.....luckily we made the decision to go back for a second trip to Laura's to get most of her things. The rest of Tuesday was pretty normal, relatively speaking.


We woke up on Wednesday morning, remembering that there was a fire, but it wasn't very present that much yet. I went to the photographer's Bible study, we mini-celebrated Amy's birthday with fruit and cinnamon rolls, and then I came back home to meet Brett for lunch. We enjoyed sandwiches and hung out for a bit at the house. We ventured out to find a cable modem for the house in the early afternoon, and after a few stops, ended up around Upper State at COX. Since we were so close, we made a quick stop into my bank to deposit a check. My bank is around La Cumbre and State Street, right near where the evacuation line was already set. While we were there, we stopped in the parking lot as we spotted a flame in the hills right across the street. As we stood there for just about 5 minutes, we watched this spot fire rage and double in size.

We got back to my house, and the smoke had really started to travel. The sky was turning amber....the shining from the sun was the strangest color orange. This is the view from my house.

Around 330, Laura called to say that her car was ready. I had let her take mine to work that morning. On her way to come get me, the traffic was already starting to drag due to the took her almost 20 minutes to take a 5 minute drive back to the house. The winds had started to pick up and the sky was pretty crazy. We took the long way over to the car place, driving along Shoreline Drive and the ocean, to avoid the 101. The sights were pretty ominous, but we could never have imagined what was in store.

This is the view driving along Shoreline Drive/Cabrillo.

Looking back towards the hills from Shoreline Drive.

You can see a glimpse of the flames if you look close.

View from where we picked up Laura's car (Modal/Cota Ln) looking back towards the hills.

Driving back towards our house on Shoreline, looking towards the water. I didn't get a picture of it since I was driving, but it was kind of amusing to see the number of people that were taking advantage of the high winds....there were all sorts of surfers out there!!

In the meantime, Brett had gone back to his house, and when he got near to his place, he could see the flames over the top of the mountain above his house. He and Kyle were all too familiar with this, so they decided to go ahead and pack and get as much as possible into their vehicles and get out of the area.

Laura and I got back to the house, and needed to watch the news. Our cable was actually in the process of being setup, so we went to a neighbor's and sat glued to the tube until the boys came over and we knew TV was setup at our place. We literally watched the news from around 5pm until we went to sleep around midnight.

At one point, we took a quick drive to the park at the top of our neighborhood and were able to view the crazy flames from across the 101. These pictures don't even do it justice. You can't even tell how far to both sides the flames were going.


I was up at 7am on Thursday to turn back on the news. Overnight about 25 homes had burned, and we learned that Governor Arnold was on his way to SB for a press conference. We sat and watched him speak from the news, as we listened to the stories of the destruction overnight. He let us know that he was in favor or spending whatever needed to be spent to be sure that we are able to do what is needed for the fire.

During the day yesterday, the winds were at bay for most of it, so it seemed that it might be getting better, however, right before the sun was going down, around 7, they picked up again....and this was when it started to get really crazy. The fire started to get really wide, and the evacuations area was moving more towards Goleta. Jessica, a friend of Laura's, had come over to join LB for dinner, and afterwards we were all watching the news. She left for a bit to go home, and then was back over here a short time later as her area was now under advised evacuation too. It was literally snowing ash last night. We watched as it's truly unfathomable how large and wide this fire really is.


It's now Friday, and the fire is still growing. There is about 10% containment. It's burned over 3000 acres already. A lot of homes have been destroyed, but we also learned that the amazing firefighters are actively saving homes all across SB. The mandatory evacuation area is north of State St/192, as far east as Goleta, and as far west to Monticeto. Brett's home is now part of the mandatory evac area. The air quality is poor, and the city smells like a bonfire.

Several of you have asked where we are located in relation to the fire. I did a screenshot of one of the maps someone has made on Google, and put our houses on there. As I mentioned, Brett's house is in the mandatory evac area. He and Kyle are out of their home.

Thank you for all your thoughts, concerns, and prayers. Please continue to keep the city of Santa Barbara in your prayers. Pray for the people that are in harm's way and their homes. Keep the firefighters in your thoughts too, and pray that they have the strength and stamina to keep up their efforts in fighting this disaster.

For those of you that want to keep abreast of what's happening, here are some great links to visit.

Information Sites


Elisabeth said...

Oh man...I am thinking and praying for you all. Please keep us posted and stay safe!

Sidenote: I was thinking about you this morning as I was listening to Les Mis! I prayed for "A little fall of rain" for CA!

*Lissa* said...

Oh how scary! Stay safe!

All Things BD said...

Glad you are all still safe. I just drove through Santa Barbara this morning on the way to my mom's house in Lompoc, and I could see those flames from the freeway. I was thinking about you guys. Santa Barbara will be in my prayers!

All About the Arredondos said...

Thank goodness I checked your blog! I have been so removed from TV, etc that I had no idea!! I am so glad to hear that you ALL are safe!!! WOW!! I am praying for everyone and hope that this will soon be over though it sounds like that may not be the case. I think you need to come back to TX. It is HOT, but no fires :) Just a shameless plug! Love you!! Stay safe and keep us posted as I am watching for your updates!
BTW, Ava says she "LOVES Swedish Fish"...she has never even had one but thought you would get a kick out of that. She misses her Annemarie!