Saturday, August 18, 2007

Zaca Fire still raging Mushroom cloud towers over Santa Barbara

Just my luck that I've move to Santa Barbara, buy a house in upper Mission Canyon and face the fourth biggest forest fire in California history (180,000 acres) and the driest summer for 100 years. Not to mention that Santa Barbara County had less rainfall this year than Death Valley. A perfect firestorm of conditions.

A mushroom cloud of smoke towers over the 4,000 foot Santa Ynez mountains and reaches up to 20,000 feet in the sky. Those nights of star gazing are a thing of the past.

I'm not too worried about my own property, to be honest I feel worse about the fire destroying the California Condor Sanctuary on Sisquoc River. The condors are almost extinct, in fact there are only 300 California condors left in the world and most of them are heading to Mexico. A real shame because I enjoy birding and love seeing the 12 foot wing spanned condors swoop over the mountains. Our bald eagle population aren't fairing much better. The Dick Smith Wilderness now appears doomed. Especially with the prospect of more back country back burning on the horizon.

No self-respecting Barbareno reads the Santa Barbara News-Press, a point proven by their online Zaca Fire coverage that is only available to paid subscribers. Its a yellow rag anyway. I wouldn't be surprised to see publisher Wendy McCaw fiddling on State Street while Santa Barbara burns. Not too hard to envision, they're both tyrants.

Once again, the small budget of the Santa Barbara Independent has outgunned the NP. The Independent's coverage of the fire has been concise and accurate. There's a real push in our community to get local hiker/photographer/reporter Ray Ford a Pulitzer or at the very least a local hero award.

Thank you Ray for your outstanding committment to our community and thank you to our brave firefighters who are out there every day without complaint. We are proud of you all.