SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Residents throughout the area witnessed a familiar site yesterday, as smoke billowed up from over the mountains.
The Camino Fire broke out along Highway 154 late Monday afternoon and was quickly contained after scorching roughly 6 acres.
Although some significant rain took place today, questions remain on whether or not this storm will help prevent future fires.
The last time Santa Barbara experienced rain of this magnitude was back in December. With this in mind, yesterday’s wildland fire should not come as a complete surprise.
This brings up the question of whether or not we should be concerned with fires breaking out this early in the year.
Daniel Bertucelli of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department says this is now the new norm.
“Having brush fires in March is not uncommon anymore,” Bertucelli said. “This was uncommon many years ago but brush fire season is year-round.”
With rain projected to pour down today, locals were not the least bit concerned with yesterday’s vegetation fire.
“It’s kind of commonplace to me and I was happy that it was a small fire,” Summerland resident Kerri Hedden said. Really happy that rain was in the forecast.”
“I didn’t really think anything of it because I knew it was going to rain,” La Colina Jr. High Student John Hayword said. I didn’t really expect anything to happen.”
While the fire department strongly believes that any rainfall is good.
“Rain is always good, especially for an area such as Santa Barbara that does not get a whole lot of rain,” Bertucelli said.
It’s not nearly enough to be a long-term solution.
“What we seem to get in Santa Barbara is we’ll get a storm or two, then we’ll get a long dry spell,” Bertucelli added.
When it’s all said and done, the community must rely on its experience dealing with fires.
“It seems like it’s a regular thing at this point,” Hayword said. “We shouldn’t really be worried.”
“The people who have lived here a long time have learned to live with them and deal with them,” Bertucelli concluded. “The fire department in this county is very good at fighting fires.”
The cause of yesterday’s fire is still yet to be determined at this moment in time.
While that blaze was small in comparison to others, there have been seven major fires in Santa Barbara over the past 10 years.
In any event, even a little bit of rain is seen as quite valuable.