Santa Barbara- S County

Not Everyone is Ready for a Fire, but the Dangerous Conditions are Here

Hot temperatures, wind, low humidity and a prolonged drought creates a bad mix

Fire Conditions

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A dangerous mix of hot temperatures, low humidity, wind, and a three year drought have come together to create a risky mix.   Many people are on alert in case a fire breaks out.

On May 5, 2009, the devastating Jesusita fire erupted in the Santa Barbara hills.  It ended up burning 80 homes and more than 8700 acres stretching from upper San Roque to Mission Canyon.

The nearby Tunnel trail had several hikers on it today.  The area has recovered from the fire, but some of the people using the trail did not know it was burnt out five years ago.

When asked if they were ready to evacuate in a fire, plans were formulated on the spot. 

One hiker said he was happy his cell phoned worked well there.

"I've never had a part where my service went out," said Phil Hunziker. "Even if I got stranded anywhere I could get a hold of somebody."  

Another hiker did not have water with her, and temperatures in the upper 80's.  "This
is a pretty popular trail and most of the time you can see someone who can potentially help you," said Emily Dennery.  She said she prefers to hike with a friend but went  a moderate distance alone today.

The nearby Botanic Gardens is interested in the brush conditions.  A researcher and some friends when to test the moisture content during the afternoon heat. 

"It's small twigs and leaves  and collect those in bottles  taken them back and weigh them dry them and weigh them again and it's a percent of moisture." said Bob Muller.  "It's a pretty simple process it just takes coming out here in the middle of the heat some days."

For those parking on Tunnel Road, there are rules that require vehicles to be within a marked area in case of an evacuation.  In a Red Flag weather condition, parking is banned.

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