Friday, May 8, 2009

Santa Barbara Jesusita Fire Day 4

The only thing more important to Santa Barbara politics than real estate is water. Property development is limited by water supply. The two issues work together to maintain a quaint, but elegant ambiance and a limited housing supply. High demand is fueled by almost perfect weather - 72 degrees and dry mean temperature, with Pacific Ocean and Channel Island views from almost every vantage point. Good old Keynsian economics work to keep Santa Barbara's pricing so high that only luck, legacy or privilege allows one to stay within the community.

The "almost" in our otherwise perfect weather includes the hot, dry winds, that periodically whip through the canyons. They raise temperatures and fuel fires, necessary to clear the chapparel that covers the mountains and wilderness areas that surround the City. In Los Angeles these winds are called "Santa Anas", the reason for which I could never figure out, but Santa Barbara is ever fearful of becoming a bedroom community of its Southern megopolis, so we call them "Sundowners".

Sundowners bring a hot, high pressure weather condition during the day. Grab your Summer clothes on the way out the door when that police bull horn announces that its time for your street to vacate. The winds funnel through the canyons and sweep through the City during the late afternoon and early evening. The winds fan fires, and the fires fuel the winds, and each intensify the other. And, that is what is working against the fire fighters in containing the Santa Barbara Jesusita Fire.

Its my theory that when enough ash meets with the moisture in the atmosphere over the Ocean, Mother nature will send in the rain drop troops that will finally quelch the fire. Not sure if a meteorologist would agree.

In the meantime, the fire fighters continue doing a helluva job at keeping the wall of flame from dropping down out of the upper canyon areas where winds are gusting, and population is sparse. I read a report in the Independent, our local weekly newspaper that a finger and spot of flame did make its way down into the San Roque neighborhood where we live, but that fire fighters heroically fought it out and back. Kudos again!

Due to limited water supply, the City has closed Los Banos, the pool at the harbor and shower which we were depending upon using during our stay at the offices of Force Fin and Fine Fabrics. So we've moved to a room in the guest house of a friend and client's Montecito estate. Their son is off at school, and another Refugee from the Eastern flank of the San Jesusita Fire is staying in his room. While we were there Painted Cave was added to the mandatory evacuation list, so our hostess called and invited this new group refugee friends who live there to join.
I'm sure we'll see them there tonight.

The community is rallying together to find homes for the other half that has been displaced.
Dos Pueblos High School where the American Red Cross had set up a shelter is full, and a secondary location has been set up at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I'm hearing that the hotels are full, but if that is your choice, check your insurance policy. Many provide for payment of your costs associated with displacement due to mandatory evacuation.

Our commercial property that houses Fine Fabrics and Force Fin are on the beach side of the 101 Freeway, and not at this time threatened by evacuation warning. Other than our real dog, Bonita, following us around, and the few of our most precious belongings we were able to fit in the car cluttering Force Fin's warehouse and Fine Fabric's sewing studio, business is as usual.

1 comment:

  1. Stay safe, ok? My thoughts are with you and your neighbors. It is great that your business location is still safe and, so far ?, your home. Wish I could send you some rain.