MONTECITO, Calif. - As light rain belied an expected deluge, nearly 60 people fanned across areas of Montecito and other neighborhoods below areas burned in recent brush fires.
Deputies from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department were joined by units from the Search and Rescue squads to knock on doors, ensuring people in areas under mandatory evacuation were indeed leaving for their own safety.
The process wasn't quick: crews needed almost 5 hours to get to every affected home. Nearly 7,000 people live in the mandatory evacuation areas, another 23,000 live in areas under voluntary evacuation.
One Montecito resident decided to pack his car after receiving a visit form the Sheriffs department.
“I need to start preparing to leave,” said Eloy Esotio, a resident living in the Montecito mandatory evacuation area. “My kids are at school and I don’t know after that if they are going to give me a chance to return home. So I need to prepare my car in case they don’t give me a chance to come back.”
Monday night and Tuesday morning are expected to bring the brunt of rain from the winter storm. Deputies with the sheriff’s department are telling nervous members of the public to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.