Winter Storm and Debris Flow Risk Map Meeting

Winter Storm and Debris Flow Risk Map Meeting title=
Winter Storm and Debris Flow Risk Map Meeting
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Source: County of Santa Barbara

The Montecito Fire Department, in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Carpinteria Summerland Fire Protection District, and 1st District Supervisor Das Williams is inviting the public to attend a community informational meeting in advance of the winter storm season.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, December 5 at Montecito Union School, 385 San Ysidro Road, Santa Barbara. The meeting will be streamed live on the County’s CSBTV cable channel 20 and YouTube at

The purpose of this community meeting is to publicly release the Interactive Debris Flow Risk Map that identifies properties in our communities that may be at risk from debris flow or flooding this storm season. This map will be utilized by local emergency managers to determine what portions of the community will be evacuated if necessary this winter.

The risk map is in the process of being updated to include the most up-to-date scientific research and data gathered following the Thomas Fire and the 1/9 Debris Flow.

If a storm is forecasted that may cause a debris flow, the risk area will be evacuated. In the event of a rapidly developing storm with little to no warning, residents living in the risk areas should have a plan to protect themselves and their family if it is not safe to evacuate.

The new interactive map will be located online at beginning December 5, 2019. For more information on the updated risk map, please contact the Montecito Fire Department at (805) 969-7762.

Also on, residents and visitors should register for emergency alerts and download Storm Ready-Set-Go preparedness tips.

For assistance developing a family safety plan, contact a local fire department or go to

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SBZZ Dec 04, 2019 01:49 PM
Winter Storm and Debris Flow Risk Map Meeting

Shasta guy - The County today is well aware of the 1969 flood. It is a design storm for long duration rainfall events and I assume they also made note of its high water marks.

Shasta Guy Dec 04, 2019 01:29 PM
Winter Storm and Debris Flow Risk Map Meeting

A 25 year old young buck county employee in 1969 who would have experienced that debris flow would be 75 now. All those people are long retired so would be no one left on staff who experienced that event. It also means there is no institutional memory that could have crafted a more strategic evacuation that would have spared lives. Records back then would have been all paper based, and perhaps they did not survive the digital transition.

Flicka Nov 13, 2019 01:34 PM
Winter Storm and Debris Flow Risk Map Meeting

If anyone had paid attention they would have realized the 1969 flood destroyed or severely damaged houses in the same location as ones in 2018. People just don't bother paying attention to history. Anyone living by a creek should know to get out of the way during expected flash floods but instead gripe because no one said they HAD to leave, just made it voluntary. Well, voluntary means make a sensible decision of responsibility for yourself.

Bob Wilson Dec 04, 2019 04:45 PM
Winter Storm and Debris Flow Risk Map Meeting

Shasta Guy. Yes! Using Highway 192 as a demarcation line for a debris flow was just plain dumb. Mud, rocks and debris will flow from the top of the hill (burn scar) to the bottom of the hill (ocean). The 19 victims south of Highway 192 got bad information from the County. No one will ever know how many of them would've left if they'd been ordered, but the fact remains that they trusted "experts" who didn't know what they were doing. Period.

Shasta Guy Dec 04, 2019 03:31 PM
Winter Storm and Debris Flow Risk Map Meeting

Thanks Bob. I went into the way back machine for Edhat, and here's the warning from SB County just before the debris flow. This warning was the product of loss of institutional memory from 1969. The new maps reflect lessons learned from 2018, more like lessons "relearned" since we already new everything we needed to know from the 1969 incident, but forgot. ******* Source: County of Santa Barbara January 7, 2018 Evacuations have been issued for areas below the Thomas, Whittier, Sherpa and Rey Fire Burn Areas beginning at 12 pm (noon) on Monday, January 8, 2018, due to an approaching winter storm. This strong storm is expected to produce heavy rain, high winds and extremely dangerous flash flooding, mud and debris flows. Flash floods, mud and debris flows can happen with little or no warning. It is important that you understand the seriousness of the situation and follow the direction of authorities. A MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDER has been issued for unincorporated parts of Santa Barbara County, Montecito, Summerland, and Carpinteria including all areas NORTH of Hwy 192, EAST of Cold Springs Road, and WEST of Hwy 150/the County line. Also included in this Order are the areas along Tecolote Canyon, Eagle Canyon, Dos Pueblos Canyon, Gato Canyon, and the Whittier burn areas near Goleta. People in these areas should take action to leave no later than 12 pm (noon) Monday. A VOLUNTARY EVACUATION WARNING has been issued for all areas SOUTH of Hwy 192 to the ocean and EAST of Hot Springs Road/Olive Mill Road to Hwy 150/the County line. People in these areas should stay alert to changing conditions and be prepared to leave immediately. If the situation worsens or you feel threatened, leave immediately or take protective actions.

Bob Wilson Dec 04, 2019 02:19 PM
Winter Storm and Debris Flow Risk Map Meeting

Following the devastating debris flow that killed 23 people, the Sheriff and former OEM Director were praised as heroes. The County Exec was given a pay raise. But no one talks about the fact that 19 of the dead were in a "voluntary evacuation zone", based on an egregious lack of judgement that ridiculously assumed the debris flow would stop at Highway 192.

PitMix Nov 14, 2019 10:36 AM
Winter Storm and Debris Flow Risk Map Meeting

And the 1st map the County generated reflected the 1969 experience, which is why it is bewildering that they replaced it with a map that looked like the fire evacuation zones. If the County was a private entity, it would be bankrupt by now. Lucky they got the state to exempt them from liability. That's why everyone has to sue SCE at this point.

jqb Nov 13, 2019 02:26 PM
Winter Storm and Debris Flow Risk Map Meeting

Unfortunately, the federal government--i.e., tax payers--takes on much of the financial risk, making it profitable to build in flood plains. There was an excellent Fresh Air segment on this recently.

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