Santa Barbara County

The Santa Barbara County city of Solvang is now offering an amnesty program for residents with unpermitted additions. 

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

All evacuations have been lifted in Santa Barbara County even as firefighters—and the rain—continue to work on putting out the Cave Fire, which started Monday in the Los Padres National Forest. What began as a small brush fire has now burned thousands of acres, and forced thousands of people to flee from areas of Santa Barbara and Goleta. But for many in the community, the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday were just part of the California new normal.

Mike Eliason/SBC Fire

As of Wednesday morning, despite over an inch of rain overnight, firefighters continue to battle a wildfire in the mountains above Santa Barbara. A portion of Highway 154 remains closed, but all evacuation orders have been lifted after the Cave Fire broke out in the Los Padres National Forest, near the top of San Marco Pass Road in Santa Barbara County, on Monday afternoon. 

Courtsey PG&E

The most recent announcement from energy company, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), listed San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Monterey Counties as “elevated” for potential Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events, which could begin Sunday and Monday.

flickr member Andrew Imanaka

The city of Santa Barbara has been added to the list of Central Coast communities facing a power shutoff this weekend. The Santa Barbara police department announced Friday afternoon that the shutoff may take place starting on Sunday afternoon, through Monday.

Daniel Bertucelli/SBC Fire

A fast-moving vegetation fire closed US Highway 101 for a few hours Thursday night northwest of Santa Barbara. Campgrounds in El Capitan Canyon and at the state beach were evacuated. As of 10 a.m. Friday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said evacuated campers and residents are being allowed back in the campgrounds to get personal belongings left behind. The state beach campground remains closed. 

Ventura County Fire Department

The bodies of  34 victims have now been recovered, after a Santa Barbara dive boat caught fire early Labor Day morning near Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands. The 75-foot vessel, the 'Conception,' was a commercial diving boat with 39 people aboard. Five crew members survived. The cause of the fire is currently being investigated.  

Wikimedia Commons

A recent announcement that the Central Coast’s Vandenberg Air Force Base will serve as a key operations center for the country’s expanding military activities in space has put a focus on the city of Lompoc.

On this week's episode of Issues & Ideas: Do you want to make your home wildfire resistant? A landscape design expert says much of the conventional wisdom about native landscapes and fire is wrong. Greg Rubin, president and founder of California's Own Native Landscape Design, is coming to San Luis Obispo on August 1 to share techniques he has developed to create sustainable, ecologically responsible, fire-resistant landscapes. 

Courtesy of the SBC Agricultural Commissioner's office

Strawberries and wine grapes remain the top two agricultural crops in both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. And crops and cattle are still among the top economic drivers in Santa Barbara County, but agricultural revenue dropped there last year, according to the county's new annual crop report out Friday.

Issues & Ideas: Cannabis odor, berries and Harmony glass

Jul 1, 2019
KCBX News

On this week's Issues and Ideas, there has been a lot of discussion about cannabis grows on the Central Coast, especially when it comes to the plants' odor. In a conversation produced by KCRW's "The 805: Stories from the Central Coast" podcast, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams dives into the issue and allegations he has been too chummy with cannabis lobbyists.

Wikimedia Commons

The Lompoc Valley Cannabis Association (LVCA) is gearing up to host its first “CannaBrew,”  a social mixer for those involved in the area’s cannabis industry. Organizers hope Wednesday’s networking event will serve as another step in turning Lompoc into a cannabis destination.

CDC

Following a measles quarantine of hundreds of students at Los Angeles universities, Central Coast health officials are on high alert, they say. Since January, over 700 cases of measles have been reported in 22 states.

VCFD

Southern California Edison power lines touching each other in strong winds definitely started the Thomas Fire, according to a report released Wednesday by the Ventura County Fire Department.

Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire

UPDATE 3/6/19 8 A.M. Evacuation orders are now lifted for all areas of Santa Barbara County. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said many roads may be impassable or have standing water and mud, but the immediate danger of debris flows has passed.

Around 3,000 Santa Barbara County residents are evacuated  from their homes once again this week. Rainstorms starting Tuesday are expected to be severe enough to potentially cause debris flows and mudslides, especially with already-saturated ground. The forecast prompted Santa Barbara County officials to issue evacuation orders starting at 4 p.m. on March 5 for those who live near or below the Sherpa, Whittier and Thomas Fire burn scars.

ReadySBC.org

UPDATE 1/15/19 6 P.M. Santa Barbara County has now lifted the evacuation orders issued on Jan. 14. 

According to the county's office of emergency services, "the National Weather Service has advised that critical rain rates did not materialize over the area as expected. Showers are expected through late Tuesday night, but rainfall is not anticipated to reach critical levels to cause debris flows. However, a high surf advisory remains in effect until 8 p.m. Friday, January 18."

Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the day a SoCalEdison electrical transformer blew up and sparked a small brush fire in Ventura County. 60-mile-an-hour winds fanned that into the Thomas Fire, at the time considered the largest wildfire in California’s modern history. That was, until the Mendocino Complex and Camp Fires eclipsed it.

Courtesy of the Chumash Life YouTube channel

The same architect who helped design the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC is working on a new cultural center and museum coming to the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County.

SBCOE

An analysis of how Santa Barbara County responded to the December 2017 Thomas Fire and January 9, 2018 Debris Flow was delivered to the Board of Supervisors this week. It’s called the "After Action Report and Improvement Plan." The supervisors heard from a third party about what the county did well in the midst and wake of the disasters, and how it can do better in the future.

Early voting underway, poll workers needed on Central Coast

Oct 11, 2018
Krista Almanzan/KAZU

Although you still have a month to mull over your choices before Election Day, early voting is underway. It started Monday.

Daniel Schwen

California will be changing the way it manages forests and wild lands near urban areas, after a Central Coast lawmaker’s bills relating to wildfire management and response were signed into law.

Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that implements the California Legislature’s new system for investigating sexual harassment complaints against lawmakers and senior staff. 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that implements the California Legislature’s new system for investigating sexual harassment complaints against lawmakers and senior staff.

Greta Mart/KCBX

Some Central Coast residents and environmental groups are alarmed over a current federal study, saying it could open up iconic local places like Morro Rock and Montana de Oro State Park to hydraulic fracking.

Southern Poverty Law Center

The KCBX Central Coast Curious project provides you the opportunity to ask the KCBX News team questions about the Central Coast. We posted a Central Coast Curious voting round this summer that included some listener questions related to nationwide issues. The winning question from the voting round was: “Are there any active, known and 'out' members of white nationalist or violent racist organizations in San Luis Obispo County?”

Tyler Pratt/KCBX

UPDATE 07/19/18 9 AM

Calfire has revised the number of acres burned downward to 81 as of Thursday morning, and reports crews are about half-way (47 percent) to containing the blaze. 

UPDATE 07/18/18 5 PM

Calfire reports the forward progression of the fire has been stopped, and the blaze is 20 percent contained. It has burned 120 acres since sparking just before noon. 

Joshua Green/Flickr

The 2015 Refugio oil spill in Santa Barbara County dumped an estimated 140,000 gallons of crude oil onto area beaches. It also effectively shut down operations at three offshore oil platforms.

Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire

Firefighters have gotten a handle on a wildfire that whipped up late Friday night in the hills above Goleta in Santa Barbara County, and CalFire reports crews held the Holiday Fire at 100 acres. As of Monday, the blaze is 90 percent contained.  

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

Wildfires continue to burn across California. In the northern part of the state, a fire that’s burned tens of thousands of acres and forced many to evacuate has now jumped into Oregon. Over the weekend a rash of high temperatures and dry winds sparked fires across the Central Coast and in southern California. A fast-moving fire in the city of Goleta tore through 100 acres and destroyed 13 homes in a matter of hours.

Anita Ritenour/Flickr

With a heat wave on the horizon, public safety officials along the Central Coast are reminding residents and visitors celebrating Independence Day that all fireworks are completely illegal to use or even possess. Except where they are legal.

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