With heavy rains and flooding expected through today, an evacuation warning was issued at 8 a.m. this morning for the mountainous and coastal areas in and around El Capitan Canyon, El Capitan Ranch, El Capitan and Refugio state beaches, and Refugio, Venadito, Corral, and Las Flores canyons, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
“An evacuation warning means there is a strong likelihood that there will be a risk to life and property, and residents in the warning area should take this time to prepare to leave quickly if given a mandatory evacuation order,” according to a statement from the department. “Time should be taken to gather family members, pets, valuables, and important paperwork/documents. An individual or family should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. However, if anyone feels threatened, do not wait for an evacuation order—leave immediately.”
The evacuation warning is focused on areas affected by last summer’s Sherpa Fire, which burned nearly 8,000 acres in the region. The loss of vegetation destabilized hillsides; four weeks ago, a powerful storm caused flash flooding and debris flows that severely damaged private campground resort El Capitan Canyon and historic buildings in nearby Corral Canyon.
Storm damage and falling trees caused the closure of Highway 154 at 8:30 a.m. this morning. The closure is between Highway 246 on the Santa Ynez side and Cathedral Oaks Road on the Santa Barbara side.