The Santa Barbara County Fire Department will hold the annual Interagency Wildland Urban Interface drill on Wednesday, May 8 at the location of the Holiday Fire, which burned 113 acres and 10 homes in the North Fairview area last summer. “Wildland Urban Interface” refers to areas with housing near lands prone to wildfires. The drill will last from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. and include about 100 firefighters from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, 15-20 fire engines, and a helicopter. Nearby homeowners have already been informed of the fire department’s plans.
Though CalFire still hasn’t released the cause of the Holiday Fire, Santa Barbara County Fire’s information officer Captain Daniel Bertucelli said the drill is nonetheless “designed for us to take valuable lessons learned from previous incidents and anticipated challenges of the future to perform at our peak levels.” To ensure that peak performance, firefighters will be trained on “structure defense tactics including home preparation, hose deployment skills, helicopter operations, and life safety measures,” according to a Santa Barbara County Fire Department news release.