SANTA BARBARA COUNTY (CBS SF) — A mandatory evacuation order is in effect Thursday for parts of Santa Barbara County devastated by recent wildfires and mudslides, as a winter storm approaches the area.
The incoming storm threatens to destabilize soil, flood waterways and create debris flow, which could put homes and residents at risk.
According to County of Santa Barbara officials, the mandatory evacuations are for individuals in or near the areas burned by the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fires, including areas of Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria.
Around 22,000 residents are likely to be impacted by the mandatory evacuation order, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.
A detailed map of the evacuation order can be found here. Residents can enter their address on the website to find out if their home or business is located within the evacuation boundaries. Another map showing areas that are at risk for debris flow can be found here. The maps will be updated as the evacuation order changes.
Individuals are ordered to be out of the evacuation areas by 6 p.m. Thursday. The storm is expected to begin after nightfall.
Sheriff Brown urged people not to wait for an individual warning, or for someone to come to their home, and instead urged those living within the boundaries of the evacuation order to evacuate immediately.
A Red Cross evacuation center has been set up at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, located at 3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara. Large animals needing temporary sheltering can also be brought to the showgrounds, according to Sheriff Brown.
Deeply discounted ride hailing services for those moving to the Red Cross evacuation center are being offered by Lyft, using the promotional code SBSTORM for up to $50, and by Uber, using the promotional code STAYSAFE18 for up to $40.
Santa Barbara County officials said that while the potential for debris flow is low to moderate, waterways may spill over into roadways. They also said that individuals “close to and immediately downstream of choke points may be endangered” by the incoming storm.
Sheriff Brown said this is the first storm since the “disastrous” January 9, 2018 storm that led to a massive mudslide in Montecito, killing 21 people.
“We just don’t know how our watershed is going to react to this. We have been told that it is very precarious and very dangerous,” Sheriff Brown said, adding that the county is taking precautions to ensure that no one is in harm’s way “…if we have another sizable debris flow.”