During the first week of the fire our Web site and email system were inundated by comments from our readers. What follows is just a sampling of the hundreds of responses we received. We would also like to send our own thanks to all those readers who sent encouraging words to our editors and reporters working long hard hours trying to tell the fast-moving story of the Gap Fire.
THE FIRST DAY :.
Thanks S.B. Independent for being the first to report online. I’m checking on this from a hotel lobby in Groton, Connecticut. InciWeb, LPNF, SBNP, KTMS, nor KEYT Web sites have anything posted as of 30 minutes ago. We live by Cathedral Oaks and Kellogg, so we’re OK for now.-ex-Los Padres National Forest seasonal firefighter, – sbhobo, posted 7/1, 11:46 p.m.
:.ONE WEEK LATER
It would be a good gesture on the part of Santa Barbara to treat each of these firefighters to free lodging, great food, and at least one night on the town in Santa Barbara while they are here, to thank them for their service. That would sure give them an idea of how much we appreciate them and also show them why we love our city so much. If a fund was set up to provide this type of thanks to them, I know that I would donate to it, even though my home is nowhere near the fire’s path.- santabarbarasand, posted 7/8, 7:57 a.m.
FROM THE HEART
We live in the Rancho del Ciervo community right up against the orchards and fully expected to return to a burned home. We did not expect to come back to our home and see it untouched. The firefighters did a miraculous job of protecting our homes and for that we will be ever grateful. We were pleasantly surprised Saturday morning while at Starbucks on Fairview, while speaking with a large group of firefighters from all over Los Angeles County, to discover that the very crew that had saved our home and that of our neighbors were from the Glendale Fire Department, the very team that had saved our Glendale home in the 1999 Glendale fire! Wow! Talk about the irony in that!
To all of the first responders who fought the fires to save our homes and communities, to those of you who provided protection via barriers and patrolling our neighborhoods, to the families of first responders who must worry every time they go out, to the fire departments from all over California who came to save our community : and to the Glendale Fire Department who have now saved two of my homes-THANK YOU!-The Fellows Family
Living on the other side of the mountain near Lake Cachuma, I’ve been concerned that the winds would push the fires over the hills and down into my area. We can see the glow, the smoke, and the helicopters fly back and forth constantly.
Your Twitter updates keep me posted. Paired with my iPhone, I’m able to see what’s happening wherever I am. And your Web site has grown with the challenge. The coverage, photos, and briefings are exactly what I need, from a source that I wouldn’t have expected, but very much appreciate.-Frank Tobe
Great to have Ray Ford’s reports-he knows the terrain and the people on the scene like nobody else. And after we were evacuated, as we sat in our temporary evacuation quarters, we had a good laugh over Jerry Roberts’s vividly described drugstore scene.- billp111, posted 7/7, 12:16 p.m.
I cannot help but feel betrayed by the local news media’s coverage of the Gap Fire on the terrible night of Thursday July 3. I was a broadcaster in Santa Barbara for 20 years. In past crises entire radio and TV station staffs were mobilized.-Richard Lane
As an ex-CDF, ex USFS firefighter I’ve gotta say: excellent fire reporting, Ray! The public gets nervous when smoke columns go up, so it really helps for them to understand the tactics being employed in the intricate battle with the fire. I’m also impressed at how precise the game has gotten since my time (too many) years ago. It almost makes me want to put on my boots and gloves, grab my McLeod, and head out for the job. But not quite!- xprof, posted 7/8, 8 a.m.
To date, this has been the best writing on the fire. I had a three-hour conversation with my neighbor as we watched the flames, and we can talk about the steep terrain, the next day’s sundowner, and the avocado orchard buffer : then walk inside the house and hear the more monotonous questions being asked by KEYT. Nick, you looking for any broadcast work?- beachnsb, posted 7/2, 12:55 p.m.
The DCs are flying out of Sacto at this point. My brother is the navigator. I called him this morning but he said they are too busy in the northern half of the state. Tried to bribe him to get slightly off course and make a drop over Goleta, but even the offer of Super Rica did no good.-2na, posted 7/2, 5:20 p.m.
HITS AND MISSES
I appreciated the “Reverse 911” call this morning that gave me the news on the Cathedral Oaks Road closure and the possibility of other power outages : The firefighters are doing a GREAT job. Things could be worse-FEMA could be managing this emergency and then we’d really be in trouble!!!- goletasue, posted 7/3, 11:18 a.m.
The Reverse 911 calls (we have had four so far) are great, a really great idea. After the last one at 10:59 last night, I tried calling the “Fire Information Line” telephone number given out by the County of S.B., got a recorded message! None of which was about the fire.
Went to the end of our road and spoke to the police who were really helpful and up to date with our local situation.- Britexpat, posted 7/5, 12:51 p.m
This morning at 10:30 a.m., the Camino Real kiosk had information from July 2 (Wednesday). Fairview’s kiosk had information from July 3 (Thursday). So much for updating daily.- bluefrenchhorn, posted 7/5, 5:36 p.m.
We lost our home in the Painted Cave Fire (we live about a mile up Old San Marcos Road). We’ve been very vigilant with this GAP fire-drove up the hill to check it three or four times today. Saw that it came over the ridge near Patterson so we packed up but weren’t going to run just yet. We were closing house windows and watering our yard when I heard my husband yell for me to come look. A new fire was burning just 50-100 yards from our house just EAST of us! I guess embers flew all the way from the canyon between us and Patterson all the way past us! I called 911-there were five or six fire engines there within ten or twenty minutes, but wow : it was fast.
Never got the Reverse 911, don’t know if my house is there, but if anybody up San Marcos Road has info, I’d love to hear!- HYPERLINK “http://www.independent.com/users/dwl/” dwl, posted 7/3, 9:49 p.m.
We live on West Camino Cielo and evacuated at 5 p.m. yesterday.
We were waiting it out until I asked a Fire Captain how many miles away was the fire and he replied “Not miles, ma’am, just a half a mile.”- jeanror, posted 7/4, 10:11 a.m.
Fairview seems to be safe now but it didn’t look safe two nights ago, when the scenery looked rather surrealistic: cars evacuating, smoke-filled air, CHP blocking off roads while the electricity was gone-and large flames rushing down into the upper Fairview area.- GoletaResident, posted 7/5, 12:28 p.m.
I went to Buena Vista Nursing Home to check on my Mom about 8:30 p.m. The exits to Turnpike, Patterson, Fairview, and Los Carneros were closed. Had to get off at Hollister exit and swing back around to Patterson. Fire trucks and emergency vehicles were on Turnpike and Patterson overpasses. Heavy smoke, ash, and swirling heat-filled wind made visibility difficult. I still had daylight to my right and black sky to my left.
Flames were licking the hillside just behind Tuckers Grove. There was a run at Albertsons at 5 points. D and C cell batteries were sold out.- emenzies, posted 7/4, 12:43 a.m.
Yes, it is a tragedy to fear the loss of losing one’s home. Please too spare a thought for the animals who live in the forests of California and who are dying in these infernos, weep a tear for the thousands fleeing and being engulfed by the relentless and cruel flames; please grieve with them for the helpless young they left behind, and for those who chose to stay and die with their babies, and for the homes they will never return to.- samuel, posted 7/7, 3:58 p.m.
NO HOMES ON THE RANGE
Certainly seems like an excellent time to approve new provision of water to developments out along the Gaviota Coast which will destroy potential ag land. Also seems like a very good time to approve scores and scores of megamansions out there too, since fire hazards seem so minimal and fighting them seems so cheap and easy.- Noletaman, posted 7/3, 6:23 a.m.
Grazing land on the Gaviota Coast produces no county income. Covered in mansions, grazing land is coin.- gaviotamilitia, posted 7/3, 8:11 a.m.
One point that must be made to the decision makers in the county and Goleta: The reason homes aren’t burning is because there are few homes in the foothills. The green belt that protects Goleta must not be replaced by homes as is the case in Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria, and the San Marcos Pass area where thousands of homes have burnt over the years. And this is a great reminder to the county that it should not allow 70 or 80 mansions to be built on Dos Pueblos Ranch in the foothills near the brush : that Orange County developer Matt Osgood has proposed : No way, Osgood. This fire just toasted your plans.- gaviotamilitia, posted 7/4, 1:06 a.m.
Q: “Have you heard about the latest cuisine from California?”
A: “Fire-roasted avocadoes la Goleta : “- GoletaResident, posted 7/3, 4:27 p.m.