KITP: Smoke Over Water

yesterday, as we were headed into an informal research group discussion,
one of the locals grabbed me and pointed out the window at a small plume of smoke on the mountain above Santa Barbara

it was a small brush fire in San Roque canyon, the Jesusita Fire, high on the mountain, it was warm and windy, but the fire was moving diagonally uphill and looked like it would be contained;
firecrews and helicopters were on it immediately

by night the fire looked to have died down, but with the heavy brush in the canyons, the firecrews couldn’t form a line around the fire, and in the morning it flared up again,
still by noon it looked almost out

then at about 4 pm hot gusty winds came down the mountains, the fire turned and flared and a thick dark plume of smoke came down over the town and the fire hit Mission Canyon where no fire had burned for decades

we headed for the KITP picnic barbeque on the beach, and watched the plumes of smoke as we sat by the cool sea in the hot wind.

Smoke Over Water

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Picnic at the beach: the “clouds” in the background are the smoke from the fire, as the wind turned

Now the fire has reached town in a couple of places and is burning out of control to the south, one edge of the fire has apparently reached the scar of Tea Fire from last year.

We are now “in an extreme emergency”.

houses have been lost, we won’t know till morning how many, for now, but anecdotally couple of dozen maybe, part of the Botanical Gardens have burned, and a wedge of the city of Santa Barbara has been evacuated, as far as State Street. Thousands of homes are evacuated, and yesterdays orderly evacuation is becoming chaotic with facilities filling and staging areas having to fall back as the fire came down the mountain

Santa Barbara Independent has the updates.

here is the Independent’s map of the fire

Here is a dynamic google map of the situation (via Lars)

The wind is dying down a bit, though more hot weather and gusty wind is forecast for thursday and friday, but the wind is very variable and the fire perimeter keeps shifting, now maybe heading towards San Marcos pass.
Temperatures in Santa Barbara reached 100 F today – shattering the old record.

Over a 1000 firefighters and multiple planes and helicopters are here, but the fire is not contained.
Three firefighters have reportedly been injured.

It is beautiful and majestic and terrifying.