Photographs by Paul Wellman Unless Otherwise Noted

There’s no doubt about it: 2018 will go down in the annals of Santa Barbara history as one of the most tragic and dramatic years on record.

Just as we’d all started to breathe a little easier after the Thomas Fire, a torrential rainstorm unleashed a cataclysmic debris flow onto Montecito in the wee hours of January 9, killing nearly two dozen, destroying entire neighborhoods, and changing the landscape forever.

Scenes from that morning also included plenty of heroism, a sentiment that carried on into the actions of the Bucket Brigade and so many other organizations and individuals involved in the ongoing recovery of Montecito.

Thankfully, life returned to something like normal, allowing the usual facets of life in Santa Barbara to go on. We hope this annual collection of photographs reminds you of our community’s many triumphs in 2018 as well.

Rescue & Recovery

In the immediate aftermath of the debris flow, rescuers plucked stranded residents from their rooftops as neighbors helped one another trudge through the muck to safety.

Heroes & Helping Hands

The solidarity and support that went toward Montecito was overwhelming, including from community celebrities.
Paul Wellman

Yet Another Fire

In the blink of an eye, as fires in high heat tend to do, the Holiday Fire sprang to life and began racing through the Holiday Hill neighborhood on July 6, while engine crews rushed to contain it.
Paul Wellman


Jo Ann Caines
Paul Wellman

Raging Against the Machine

In a land ruled by Trump, there’s never been more to protest, or more fervor to do so. When a shooter killed 17 students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, Syd Abad (with bullhorn) led students into Girsh Park as part of a nationwide walkout against gun violence.
Erika Carlos

Infrastructure Issues

Alternative transportation made strides and hit setbacks this year. The “Last Mile” folding-bike program now provides train commuters like Cord Christensen a means of getting to their final destination.
Paul Wellman

Shores, Surf, & Sinsemilla

The coastline is under constant attention in Santa Barbara, whether it comes to cleaning up and capping the old Becker Well at Lookout Beach in Summerland…
Paul Wellman

Science & Space

Those lucky enough to look toward the skies in September saw the Falcon 9 rocket launch from and then, in part, return to Vandenberg Air Force Base, as seen here from Arroyo Burro Beach.
Paul Wellman

Open Emotion

It was a year of extreme highs and lows for a few of Santa Barbara’s politicos. Democratic Assemblymember Monique Limón (front in black) celebrates her election win with ecstatic friends and family.
Paul Wellman

Performing Pros

Santa Barbara always stacks up the performing-arts opportunities, and 2018 entertained us every week. In April, the Taiko Center of Los Angeles performed two free shows for students in a collaboration between the Children’s Creative Project and the Santa Barbara Bowl.
Paul Wellman

Rocked & Rolled

Santa Barbara is always graced with great live music, and 2018 was no exception. Phish frontman Trey Anastasio went acoustic at the Granada in December.
Paul Wellman

Follow the Bouncing Balls

UCSB men’s basketball is on a tear right now, and they destroyed rival Cal Poly back in March by the score of 86-61, thanks to dunks by Jalen Canty. As the team soaked up the juice, Coach Joe Pasternack kept the momentum going.
Paul Wellman

Off to the Races

San Marcos High’s Jenny Nnoli (center) leads the pack at the 2018 Santa Barbara County Championships in Carpinteria.
Paul Wellman

Competitive Spirit

The Santa Barbara Grunions Rugby Club turned 40 in 2018, but they aren’t getting tired of tearing up the turf and visiting teams.
Paul Wellman


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