Santa Barbara County officials ordered mandatory evacuations in several communities in the region as a precaution against the storms forecast for southern California beginning Thursday and Friday.
The orders impact neighborhoods around the fields burned by the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fires , explained Bill Brown, a member of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department (SBSD), at a press conference.
“If you live below the areas that were burned and along the south coast, you should start to leave now,” the officer warned.
The authorities indicated that residents in the cities of Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland and Carpintería, under order of evacuation, should leave the region no later than 6:00 pm (local time). An interactive map with the affected areas is available online at the official website www.ReadySBC.org.
“It is important that the members of the community understand the seriousness of the situation and follow the indications,” Santa Barbara County authorities said in a statement.
Sheriff Brown also explained that due to the size of the region that must be evacuated, law enforcement officers will not be able to go to each house to notify residents. SBSD members will be sent to the neighborhoods under “extreme danger” due to landslides and floods.
Although the rains that have been predicted for the closing of the week are not as powerful as the storms that hit the counties of Santa Barbara and Ventura on January 9, the authorities have emphasized the importance of taking the necessary precautions to prevent mishaps or tragedies.
Winter storms in January caused landslides and floods in communities such as Montecito and left some 20 deaths and millions of dollars in property damage.
These areas were susceptible to mudslides following the devastation left by the forest fires that destroyed thousands of acres of land by the end of 2017.
The Red Cross announced that a shelter is available for evacuees at Earl Warren Center, located at 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara. That refuge also has space for animals. Residents who need help with their pets can also contact the Animal Services Department through the telephone line: (805) 681-4332.