As of about 1:35 p.m., according to The Indy‘s Ethan Stewart, most houses from the 600 to 1000 block of Coyote Road are completely burned. Although 820, 870, and 890 Coyote Road are standing (but heavily damaged), 840 and 880 are completely burned. At 840 Coyote Road - where Bill Joyce and his wife, Nicole, live in a home rented from the Harlin family - the fireplace, chimney, and water heater are all that’s left from the house. Stewart described the scene as “probably the worst possible scenario,” saying “there’s flat ground where houses used to be.” Fire, police, and gas company personnel are at the scene, and some homeowners, but not many, are along Coyote trying to figure out what to do next.
Tea Fire photos from Mountain Drive
Planes are doing water drops over Coyote Road; very small fires - more accurately described as tiny hotspots - are springing up.
Stewart also reported that there’s significant damage along East Mountain Drive; just about every other house along that road is burned down to its foundation. Stewart said he had to turn around at about the 300 block, where fire crews were dealing with hotspots there. Ben Ciccati, a graphic designer with The Independent, just reported that his house at 320 East Mountain Drive was burned to the ground. He and his family, wife Michelle and daughter Chloe Bee, evacuated early Thursday evening; Ciccati returned to the house at 11 a.m. this morning to check on its status and said it was completely burned.
At roughly 2 p.m. this afternoon, around the 200 block of East Mountain Drive, a strike team from Monterey County could be seen dousing embers from the small fires still burning. The Monterey team of five engines left their home county at 1 a.m. Friday morning, arriving in Santa Barbara County at about 5 a.m., and had been working ever since.
“We’re putting out anything that could take off when the wind picks up,” one firefighter explained.
Nearby, the windows of a van that caught fire earlier had burned so hot - 1,200 to 1,400 degrees, according to the firefighter - they didn’t break or burst, but melted.