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Grass fire rekindles bringing out a return response in Santa Barbara

A morning emergency call brought Santa Barbara City fire crews back to a spot where they fought a grass and tree fire Thursday night.

It was just down from Loma Alta and up from the Westside neighborhood.

The fire was a small rekindling of a scene that was a more threatening fire on a dry hillside, near homes and McKinley Elementary school Thursday about 8 p.m. The flames were seen for several blocks. It’s just below TV hill which is loaded with residential homes and brush.

As firefighters doused the area, including a tree with smoke pouring out, some residents and school officials said they have seen too much here lately. That includes many homeless camps and cooking fires.
” You almost stumble on them as you go down the hill here. I’ve seen campfires and things like that, ” said a resident who did not want to be identified. ” This was a little close to home. It’s just crazy it’s just tolerated I don’t understand. ”

Residents say they are not happy with what they see. That includes transient camps, evidence of drug and alcohol use , and human waste.

This fire was in an area of homes, tight apartment units, and multiple vehicles.
Here and nearby there have been many small fires in recent years.

” This happens around here so often, ” said Fawn Johnson a nearby resident. ” It happens to be in a place where I see homeless people and beer bottles and things like that right under the tree that burned. ”

Fire crews say even without wind, we are at extreme risk.

” It’s warm, it’s dry the fuels are receptive and anything is going to start a fire, ” said Santa Barbara City Fire Battalion Chief Chris Mailes .

The burned area was small, less than an acre, but emotions about what happened and the potential for the impact, ran hot.

School officials say the campus was not at risk and children were not in the area.

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