I would like to send my sincere thanks out to all the fire agencies that responded and staged and watched over our area that we were always told "No one would respond to." All the agencies we talked with were so thankful for what we, as a community, were able to provide, whether it was clearing, information, water resources, or charged hoses to use.
I would also like to acknowledge the (at least) 21 members of the MET that stayed behind. We deployed hoses, provided maps, patrolled, helped evacuate neighbors in need, sent notifications out, called in spot fires, and kept eyes on the fire both nights. Many of us were up and kept watch for over 30 hours. We had groups on Ogram, Rim (2), and Lookout Roads monitoring the fire. Thank you to those who were able to make coffee! It takes a village, and indeed it did. Thank you to those who evacuated in a planned and orderly way. It made our jobs so much easier. We would like to have a better way to document who is leaving and who is staying, but that is looking forward and progress for the safety of our community.
In a perfect world we would have had trucks. Nic and I were first on scene, but armed with two fire extinguishers and a giant hoe, we knew this was far too much for us to deal with. It was already many acres, with trees torching, and on both sides of ECC. It was another five minutes, going down, before we passed CHP and SB Sheriffs coming up, and another few minutes before we passed the first County patrol trucks going up.
A huge thank you to the San Marcos Pass Volunteer Fire Department. Not only did they have an engine responding to the fire, but they staged another engine in the Painted Cave community, because they knew we had limited defenses. They pulled out later, because their own community was threatened, and because they did, were able to battle a structure fire on Old San Marcos Rd.
This is a learning process for all of us. If you have a suggestion, comment, or a criticism, please let us know so that we can be even better next time.
Lastly, for both that evacuated, and those that stayed behind. There were things you wish you had, or wished you had done. Make a list! Share it here, on the forum. We can all learn from everyone's experience. I know people left without some key things, toiletries, clothes, or share what your evacuation process looks like.... Thank you, All!
I just received this message from a close UK relative:
I think it's wonderful the way everybody is pulling together and doing what they can to help, It's is reminiscent of what they used to call the 'war, or blitz, spirit' in WWII.
To follow up on the comment about "No one would respond to", absolutely true, that was driven into our head many, many, many times.
I counted 6 Strike teams (30 engines) and 4 hand crews staged/working around Painted Cave, over the 2 days, do you have any idea what a resource that is? !!WOW!!
There are not 30 engines staffed in Santa Barbara City at any given time, and those agencies were here for US!