(Photo: Mike Eliason / SBCFD)
Source: Santa Barbara County
At 2:30 p.m. today, Santa Barbara County proclaimed a local emergency due to the Whittier and Alamo fires. The Whittier Fire has burned more than 18,000 acres south of Lake Cachuma and the Alamo Fire has burned 29,000 acres west of Twitchell Reservoir. The proclamation was made by the County Office of Emergency Management; the Board of Supervisors is expected to act formally on the proclamation at its next meeting on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.
Proclaiming a local state of emergency is an essential step for local governments dealing with significant incidents. It ensures that all county resources are available for the fire control efforts and supporting activities. Having the proclamation in place also helps facilitate potential State funding and a State Declaration of Emergency, should further evacuations and damage require that declaration.
“Protecting the public, firefighters, and other first responders is the County's top priority, as well as preventing damage to structures, infrastructure, and our rich agricultural resources,” said Joan Hartmann, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “We are proud of and grateful to the public safety employees who are responding so effectively to both the Whittier and Alamo Fires. This proclamation is one more step the County can take to respond to these significant events.”
The Whittier Fire started off Highway 154 across from Lake Cachuma at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 8, 2017. To date, more than 18,000 acres have burned and the fire is 36 percent contained. Currently, 16 residences and 30 structures have been destroyed; one residence and six structures were damaged.
The Alamo Fire, which began July 6, 2017 in San Luis Obispo County near Twitchell Reservoir, is burning in Santa Barbara County South of Highway 166 and the reservoir. As of Sunday morning, July 16, 2017 the fire was at 95 percent containment having burned approximately 29,000 acres. Fifteen structures were destroyed or damaged, including two residences.