For updated information about the Tea Fire, please visit the article published in Friday’s edition of the Nexus.
Filed on Nov. 14 at 11:06 a.m.
The Tea Fire has burned somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 acres and destroyed at least 100 homes since it started burning yesterday evening, according to the latest press briefing by the County Emergency Response Center.
Fire officials have said containment of the blaze cannot be estimated at this time, but that the blaze is now being managed by a unified command, which currently includes units from Santa Barbara County, the City of Santa Barbara, the Montecito Fire Protection District and the Los Padres National Forest. Currently there are more than 500 firefighters battling the fire, and officials expect at least a nine helicopters and 10 air tankers by today. Additionally, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency for the state of California.
There have been at least 13 injuries reported as a result of the fire, including two firefighters, but there have been no deaths as of yet. Ten of these injuries have come from smoke inhalation, while the remaining three are burn cases.
Mandatory evacuation orders remain in place for large parts of eastern Santa Barbara and Montecito. According to the Emergency Response Center, 5,446 homes have been evacuated. This number does not include homes evacuated outside the mandatory evacuation zone, which stretches from Hot Springs Road in the east to Tunnel Road in the west, and everywhere north of Alameda Padre Sierra.
An evacuation shelter has been set up by the American Red Cross at San Marcos High School, off Hollister Avenue and Turnpike Road. There are currently 123 people at the shelter, and at least 200 spent the night last night.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters that further evacuations did not seem imminent, but that anyone living in mountainous terrain near the fire should be ready to leave at any time. While Brown said that approximately 100 homes had already been lost, he also noted that that number is expected to rise, since many burned homes have yet to be counted.
Filed at 11:36 p.m.
There have been four recorded burn injuries. Two individuals were airlifted to a burn center in Irvine.
Additionally, in order to save space for the seriously injured, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital has asked that only those seriously hurt seek medical help tonight.
The following roads are closed:
Gibraltar Road at Mountain Drive
Gibraltar Road at Painted Cave
Mission Canyon at Foothill
San Ysidro Road
Filed at 10:55 p.m.
The winds must have shifted — it smells like smoke on campus.
Filed at 10:52 p.m.
A Daily Nexus photographer witnessed entire neighborhoods on fire, and latest reports say at least 100 homes have been burned. The fire is burning in upper Riviera right now, but reporters in the field say the wind has calmed down.
Still, it remains eerily warm.
Estimates of the fire’s size have varied widely, but the Nexus has heard reports from 1,000 acres to 5,000.
The citizen news Web site Edhat has seen a tremendous boost in traffic: over 150 individuals have posted their fire information, photos and stories on the site. Here’s the post.
Filed at 9:53 p.m.
KCLU is reporting that parts of the Westmont campus are on fire.
There have been various reports of looting, though the Daily Nexus cannot confirm these incidents.
Filed at 9:32 p.m.
The fire, which started as a small, 3-acre blaze, has ballooned in the last few hours partially because of the extreme wind conditions. Winds have been blowing between 20 and 50 mph, tonight.
Before the fire even began, the county had issued wind and heat advisories for the weekend.
Filed at 9:27 p.m.
A State of Emergency has been declared, and the fire is currently threatening homes within a mile of the Santa Barbara Mission.
Reports have the fire at anywhere from 300 to 1,000 acres in size.
Filed at 9:07 p.m.
For more photos of the fire click here.
Filed at 9:00 p.m.
At least seven structures have burned down, including one within the Santa Barbara city limits.
The blaze has been dubbed the Tea fire.
Filed at 8:47 p.m.
A substantial fire has began burning in Montecito and is threatening numerous buildings, including some on the Westmont College campus.
A mandatory evacuation order has been given for areas above Highway 192, also known as East Sycamore Road, between Cold Springs and Hot Springs roads. The size of the fire is currently estimated at 300 acres and approximately 400 firefighters are fighting the blaze at the moment. The fire has also reportedly reached Santa Barbara City Limits, according to a spokesperson for the Montecito Fire District.
An emergency shelter has been set up at San Marcos High School, at the intersection of Hollister and Turnpike roads by the American Red Cross.