Archive for July, 2008

Goleta Fire….here we go again

Posted in Uncategorized on July 3, 2008 by Adam Housley

        No one can remember a time when fires burned this close to the coast this early in the summer. And by coast, I don’t mean San Diego or Los Angeles, where fuel dries much quicker and can be yellow by June in dry years. These latest fires are in Big Sur and a couple hundred miles to the south in Goleta, where we are now. We began to watch this fire yesterday and the call came last night about 7:45 or so. Within a short time I was back home and packing and then on the road for the two hour drive (without traffic). As I passed through Santa Barbara and the 101 turned more to the north, I could see the ever familiar red glow. For so many years and so many fires, the same glow lights up the senses like only an active fire can. Many times before the smell of smoke, or visual of falling ash, the glow tells us where to head. A few miles north of Santa Barbara sits Goleta, the college town home to the University of California Santa Barbara. The setting here is stunning  as the yellow topography of Southern California begins to give way to a more greenish plant life. As I come off the 101 freeway and head southwest on the overpass, to my right I see some massive orange and yellow flames dancing on the hillsides. The rim of red has drawn quite the crowd as streets are lined with onlookers, watching the flames put on a show. The good news is the fire is headed downhill and the winds have calmed, homes are still a mile or so away. Firefighters have come from all over and the theme/complaint is again, “We are stretched so thin and there’s still so much time left in summer and fall fire season.”                                                                                                                                                                 As a native Californian and someone who has covered fires here for 10 years, I have never spoken with or seen anything like this year. So many fires burning so early and in areas that are normally not as fire prone. This picture, an engine next to a dozer, is one that is becoming too familiar.