Forecasted heavy rains prompted the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department to order residents to evacuate by 8 p.m. Feb. 1 in areas below the Thomas, Whittier and Sherpa fire burn scars.
Residents in areas at high risk for debris flows were ordered to evacuate and homes in adjacent areas were warned about the potential for isolation due to road closures.
Rainfall rates of half an inch to an inch are likely, weather forecasters said, and could reach 1.25 inches per hour in the foothills and coastal slopes. That would exceed a threshold for debris flows in first and second-year burn areas still recovering from wildfires, which experienced catastrophic mudslides in January 2018.
A Red Cross Evacuation Center will be available at the Goleta Valley Community Center, the alert said, and residents with animals can make arrangements for them via an animal hotline at (805) 681-4332.
More information and a map of the debris flow risk area are available at www.readysbc.org.