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Local community gathers to discuss wildfire prevention

Wildfire Meeting
Blake DeVine/KEYT
Recent California fires have devastated urban communities while heightening our community’s perception of wildfire vulnerability.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - It’s been 15 years since Santa Barbara created its Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

Since then, there have been 14 major wildfires throughout Santa Barbara County.

This evening, the city hosted a community meeting at Adams Elementary School with regard to this matter.

Organizers aimed to educate local residents on wildfire risks while also brainstorming a new plan. 

“We’re hosting the community workshop tonight to layout the project and introduce it to the public,” wildland specialist Amber Anderson said.

“Having the opportunity to contribute your perspective is such a vital part of this event,” Dudek senior project manager Jessica Kinnahan-Foley said. “We’re really looking forward to the community feedback.”

The City completed a Wildland Fire Plan in 2004 aimed at mitigating wildland fire impacts. Recent California fires have devastated urban communities while heightening our community’s perception of wildfire vulnerability.

In 2019, the Santa Barbara City Fire Department was awarded a $310,000 Cal Fire grant to update the existing CWPP and programmatic Environmental Impact Report.

“With it being 15 years old, it’s time to update our plan,” Anderson added.

“They’re seeking input from the stakeholders, so from the folks who live here within the community on what they’d like to see,” Santa Barbara Ranger District chief Aaron Kendall said.

Those in attendance hoped to gain valuable information on how to plan for future fires. 

“Lot of planning and effort going into this,” Santa Barbara resident Afzal Hussain said. “Hopefully that would help to keep us safe during wildfires.”

Based on the feedback gathered from tonight’s event, organizers will draft the new protection plan.

“After this meeting, we’re going to go to work and put their input together with our past plan,” Anderson concluded. “All of the mapping and housing analysis conducted will be put together in a draft.”

While a second community meeting will be held in April, organizers aim to have this new plan finalized and approved by city council members before their deadline in March of 2021. 

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.


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