In response to increasing rain levels and the high potential for flooding and mudslides, the County and City of Santa Barbara have issued mandatory evacuation orders for residents living in the Tea Fire burn area.

According to the SB Chapter of the Red Cross, approximately 500 homes have received reverse 911 calls alerting them to the evacuation. In a press release, the county said all residents living within the burn area will be affected.

A Red Cross shelter has been opened to house the displaced.

A press release issued by the county yesterday advised that residents of the neighborhoods near or below the burn area have “emergency plans in place and may want to consider leaving the area in advance of any official evacuations.”

According to the National Weather Service, the warning was issued based on estimates of one to two inches of precipitation for the area. The areas of concern are considered especially susceptible to potential flooding, debris flow and falling rocks, as much of the ground vegetation — which typically absorbs moisture and secure soil during rains — were destroyed in the fire.

In preparation for potential floods, the county has opened a sandbag distribution station, located at the City of Santa Barbara’s Corporate Annex Yard at 401 E. Yanonali Street. Additionally, the Santa Barbara County Red Cross is on notice and encourages residents with no evacuation options to contact their local office for assistance.

The county has also warned that, depending on conditions, various roads may close, including portions of Mountain Drive, Highway 192 and Gibraltar and Sycamore Canyon roads.