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Loma Alta Fire
updated: Jan 21, 2013, 9:29 PM

By the Urban Hikers

At approximately 5:45 p.m. on Monday evening several reports were made to the Santa Barbara Fire Department regarding massive flames, as called in by multiple reporting parties. In addition, several motorists stopped at Station 1, on W. Carrillo Street to alert firefighters about the blaze. We were enjoying the sunset from Channel Drive when we noticed very visible flames erupting from the “alligator.”

Crews from Station 1 were first to arrive on scene, four minutes after the initial report was received. The Captain from Engine 1 immediately recognized the need for additional help, and called for more firefighters and other resources.

In all, 9 Engines and 40 firefighters were on scene, including firefighters from SBFD and SB Co. Fire. Montecito FD provided backup coverage for the eastern part of the City while the fire was being fought.

As part of the very aggressive response to this vegetation fire, a helicopter was requested. Because SB County's helicopter was in service with another call, a helicopter from Ventura Co. was requested. At 6:05, the request for Ventura's helicopter was withdrawn due to the fact that the fire was under control by then.

At least two structures in the 400 block of Miramonte Dr. were threatened, which led to a potential evacuation order. Firefighters were able to defend the homes from one of the residences located directly above Loma Alta. Luckily, the firefighters' immediate response saved the homes from serious damage. At least one of the homes, a patio enclosure suffered some minor damage when the glass panels blew out from the heat of the advancing flames.

On scene were interim Fire Chief Patrick McElroy and the Fire Investigator. It was noted that the low humidity and low winds were advantageous to the firefighting effort, along with the moist hillside on which the blaze began. Less helpful were the very steep, muddy conditions of the hillside, which is covered in large patches of poison oak.

Paramedics were on scene, but luckily, as of this time, no civilians nor firefighters were injured in the efforts. SBPD provided traffic control.

Firefighters will remain on scene throughout most of the night for mop up and to ensure that no flare- ups occur. An investigator will also be inspecting the scene, as well as interviewing witnesses to discover the cause of the fire.

This was the third of three vegetation fires today, and we questioned firefighters about this. While there is no definitive cause for this fire, investigators and fire personnel will be working to determine whether it is coincidence, or whether there is a relationship with any or all of todays three vegetation fires.

Thank you firefighters for your amazing efforts and for your heroic work today keeping our town safe.

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Fire at Loma Alta and Cliff. Structures possibly involved. Full Response! [pics] (01/22/13)
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