Before Thursday evacuation, La Conchita watched and waited

Watching for flames carefully

La Conchita waits and watches nearby...

LA CONCHITA, Calif. - EDITOR'S NOTE:  This story was filed before Thursday morning's threatening flames and mandatory evacuation at La Conchita.

The beach area colony of La Conchita has been facing a smoky day, but no flames have come from the Thomas Fire into the area

Community leader Mike Bell says he was aware of an evacuation order, but like some residents, he is staying, for now. Bell is closely watching the weather forecasts and the fire patterns nearby.

He stopped on a walk through the town across from Highway 101 and the Rincon beach to size up the scene. Bell said, "We just saw seven fire engines going north on the 101 and logically what they are doing is to head to the 150 the back side and hit it from there."

Bell said the site on Highway 150 would be a spot to face flames that might hook around and get into either La Conchita or the back side of Carpinteria.

His sister nearby was able to evacuate to Carpinteria State Beach in her motorhome.

La Conchita is disaster ready, after several landslides that have been deadly and destructive.

Residents have a communication plan and most know each other, especially in a crisis.

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