Living in Santa Barbara, residents have grown accustomed to local California fires breaking out. This is mostly due to the current California drought and hot local weather in Santa Barbara. The most recent being the Thomas fire which claimed over 273,400 acres and hundreds of homes of local residents. Making it one of the largest fires in California. It doesn’t take much for smaller fires to start. A perfect example of this is the two small fires that started last weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, March 30th, a small brush fire broke out on the southbound side of Los Patos Way. The fire first broke out around 2 pm, located in between the 101 freeway and the railroad tracks. One battalion chief, three fire engines and fire investigator, Amber Anderson reported to the scene. The fire burned about 100 to 150 ft., about a 20 by 30 foot total area.
“The area is known for many homeless encampments,” said Anderson,”No suspects were reported at the scene, but the fire was recorded as suspicious.”
That fire, which broke out at a homeless camp in a eucalyptus grove, burned an area approximately 100 by 150 feet, Battalion Chief Mike de Ponce of Santa Barbara Fire Department told Noozhawk.
A few hours later, a smaller fire, located near the Hot Springs road and off ramp began to burn. Due to the onshore winds and hot weather that afternoon, the wind carried and ember across Highway 101 to create what is called a spot fire. This new fire resulted in two of the four lanes and the Hot Springs road exit being shut down. They later reopened up at 3:45 pm.
“We drove right past the fires on our way home to Montecito,” said sophomore Sam Friedman, “It was super scary and the traffic was really backed up.”
It is still unknown what caused the two separate fires but it is currently being investigated. No injuries were reported.