Environment 8-21

Most people are unclear on the fact that what goes into storm drains proceeds directly to the ocean without being treated, with 12 percent believing it doesn’t and 47 percent unsure, according to a city-sponsored survey. Also, nine percent of the 600 South County residents polled said they have stopped using pesticides or other chemicals in order to avoid polluting.

The Montecito Water Board convened on 8/19 in the first of two meetings discussing the proposed tiered block rate structure. Tom Moseby, Montecito Water District’s general manager, said that the new rate structure-which includes a slight rate increase to $3.90 per unit-is designed to encourage water conservation, with higher consumption causing a higher per-unit rate. Several objections were filed, though likely not enough to defeat the plan.

A widespread thunderstorm on 8/14, which dropped only trace amounts of rain on Santa Barbara but created a rare late-night light show, sparked several backcountry fires, including the 18-acre Owl Fire, the 53-acre Manzanita Fire, and the fires associated with the Buckhorn Complex, which total 185 acres. Crews are currently battling these blazes, which are situated in or near the San Rafael Wilderness, about 18 miles east of Santa Maria. (/northfires)

The City Fire Department credited quick action and evening humidity as helping contain a half-acre brushfire in Sycamore Canyon on 8/15. The fire, which began at the edge of Canyon View Road, had been contained by 9:30 p.m., less than two hours after it was called in. The cause remains under investigation. (/sycamorefire)

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