Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Santa Barbara Is Open for Business (Gap Fire is Over)

The Gap Fire was 90% contained on July 18th when the Santa Barbara County Tourist Bureau announced that Santa Barbara County was open for business, i.e., “Tourists, come back and bring your money.” The ash is still not quite gone. It still seems to cover the cars when the wind blows. It collects in the corners and at the edges of the drive-way. I still have not unpacked things that were hastily gathered together for the evacuation….I still can’t find the “important” mail that arrived just before the fire. It seems it just went up in smoke. Ha! Ha! The hills don’t even look much like they were burned. The continued fire threat to Tecolote Canyon where I live is demonstrated in the map of the Gap Fire Area displayed at the local Fire Information Kiosk. The finger of threat heading down Tecolote was really created by the determined defense of the neighboring canyon which is where the water pump station is located. As you can imagine, loosing the water pump station could have been critical.

There were continuing power outages as the fire continued to burn and Goleta learned about the loss of the peaker plant that Southern California Edison had axed in recent cut backs. Basically, our sister city of Santa Barbara still got power while the poor cousin, Goleta, got cut. There were some hard feelings about Santa Barbara continuing with holiday fireworks and tourist activities while Goleta was so seriously threatened. Even the local media had dismal coverage. This has prompted a review of information distribution in the event of an emergency. News 24 hours old is not good enough when you are living the incident! Thank goodness for the internet. I have gotten a smart phone so I will be able to get to the web for news even if the power goes out.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! To the Firemen! Especially to the Cal Fire Crew who was in Ellwood Canyon and to the Glendale Crew who defended Tecolote.

Thank you!

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