Holiday Fire Issues State of Emergency for Santa Barbara County

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Image Courtesy of Mike Eliason

Annette Ding
News Editor

Under high temperatures and gusty sundowner winds on the Santa Barbara County Coast, a fast-moving fire on Holiday Hill Road erupted into what is now called the Holiday Fire around 8:45 p.m. on Friday, according to Santa Barbara fire dispatch.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, Governor Jerry Brown issued a State of Emergency for Santa Barbara County due to the Holiday Fire. The emergency proclamation came after Santa Barbara County declared a local emergency around 1 a.m. Saturday, which “helps facilitate potential state funding and a state declaration of emergency.”

The City of Goleta held an official update on the Holiday Fire at Dos Pueblos High School at 4 p.m. on Saturday, announcing that “at this time, we are increasing containment level of this to 80 percent, versus 50 percent earlier in the afternoon.”

It also gave thanks to the evacuees for their compliance with the evacuation orders and allowing firefighters to focus on fire suppression. “There very likely would have been fatalities had these evacuations not occurred,” officials said.

Furthermore, officials stated that “good early weather intelligence” was vital to effective fire suppression, leading to the placement of “a large amount of extra precautionary personnel and equipment in the front country against any threat that might have developed — and obviously the threat did develop.”

As of 4 p.m. Sunday, according to the Santa Barbara County website, 100 acres and 10 to 20 structures have been burned, including homes. In accordance with the mandatory evacuation order from La Patera to Patterson, north of Cathedral Oaks, approximately 2,500 people have been evacuated.

However, effective 5 p.m., some areas under mandatory evacuation will be downgraded to warning status, while neighborhoods accessed along North Fairview north of La Goleta Road will remain under mandatory evacuation order.

According to the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution District’s Air Quality Index, the air quality in Goleta is acceptable with “moderate health concern for a small number of people.”

The cause of the Holiday Fire has yet to be determined, but officials stated that there is an ongoing and active investigation.

The evacuation center will remain open at the Goleta Valley Community Center on 5679 Hollister Ave. Small animals can continue to be sent to SB County Animal Shelter on 5473 Overpass Road. Large animals can also be placed at Earl Warren Showgrounds.

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