I’m just about to take a picture of one of the chalk art paintings at the I Madonna Festival when someone says, “What’s that smoke coming from?” I look up from the ladder I’m standing on and quickly realize that a wildfire has broken out.
The thick black column of smoke seems to be coming from a spot just over the top of the Old Mission but when I get in my truck and begin to head out to se what is happening I can see the smoke is actually much further away and on the other side of the Santa Ynez Mtn crest.
It appears Santa Barbara is in for another major wildfire, perhaps one that burns out the parts of the backcountry not touched by the 240,000 acre Zaca blaze.
Apparently the fire begun when a small portable BBQ turned over near White Rock Picnic Area on the Santa Ynez River. I’m covering the fire for the SB Independent and am able to get through the perimeter line and across the river to the point where the fire is beginning to take off in a northeast direction. It is clear firefighters will not contain the fire tonight; but instead, can only hope to keep it from crossing the river further upstream and heading towards town.