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First Santa Barbara rain in six months won’t make a dent in fire fuel levels

Fuel levels
Kacey Drescher/KEYT Photo

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif - We’re tracking the first sign of Santa Barbara rain in six months but is it enough to make a dent as far as fire conditions are concerned?

We’re expecting less than a tenth of an inch of rain Tuesday night. While it is a welcome sight we’re not in the clear just yet.

At last check, the U.S. Drought Monitor considered Santa Barbara County and a majority of California “abnormally dry” so could a minimal amount of rain help?

“It could temporarily alter our very fine, what we call, one-hour fuels like the light grasses. Once that moisture evaporates and the sun gets on those fine fuels they’ll be just as dry as before the rain,” said Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Daniel Bertucelli.

Bertucelli says we would need several days of consistent precipitation to start altering those critical fuel levels.

“We need an extended amount of moisture and extended amount of rain for an extended amount of time for those fuels, both the one-hour, the 10-hour and the hundred-hour fuels, to really gather that moisture and to retain that moisture to really change those fuel moisture levels,” said Bertucelli. 

Even though our relative humidity has gone up in the last few days, Bertucelli says fuel moistures are still very low.

Fire / News / Santa Barbara- S County / Weather

Kacey Drescher

Kacey Drescher is a reporter/anchor at KEYT|KCOY|KKFX.