In response to the Thomas Fire, Santa Barbara city administrators declared all downtown parking lots open to the public free of charge for the time being. Driving this decision was concern that the ambient air quality caused by the fire could pose a hazard to lot attendants. The hope is that the lure of free parking might help draw holiday shoppers downtown in the few remaining shopping days before Christmas. This week, City Hall is reactivating city street sweepers to get the ash deposits removed. The street sweepers lightly souse the surface with recycled water as they go, which should minimize the amount of dust and ash blown into the air. Motorists who park in the path of oncoming street sweepers will not be ticketed between now and 12/18, but drivers are encouraged to get out of the way.