Santa Barbara- S County

High Fire Parking Zone Ban Ignored by Some Drivers in Mission Canyon

Risky county area has been in the eye of major wildfires with evacuation issues

High fire risks being ignored by some Mission Canyon drivers

Santa Barbara County, Calif. - With at least 12 signs posted on Tunnel Road some drivers still had no idea today, that parking was restricted during high fire conditions known as the Red Flag Alert.  The policy was put into place to help residents evacuate in a wild land fire without having to compete for space with trail hikers running to their cars.

There weren't many cars illegally parked today but there were reactions that indicated the message was not getting through.

One driver said she did not see any of the signs.

Another said she saw the signs but didn't think it applied to the area where she finally stopped.

Some visitors said others were parking there and they thought it was acceptable.

There's also been a concern that not enough signs were in the area.

At mid day no visible tickets were issued on the vehicles that were parked in a posted no parking area.

Some flip up signs are also on posts to declare a Red Flag fire conditions. That usually means higher heat, low humidity and strong wings.

Nearly 300 homes over an area from Montecito to the hills behind Santa Barbara burned in 2008 and 2009 during the Tea and Jesusita fires.  Both in or around Tunnel Road where the parking ban is posted.

The nearby Botanic Gardens also has a policy to close when there is a Red Flag alert.  Signs were up at the entrance today where guests were trying to arrive for a visit.

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