Loma Fire Breaks Out on TV Hill

Flames Seen All Over Santa Barbara as KEYT, Other Structures Threatened, Evacuations Ordered

The view of the Loma Fire from the Ortega Street footbridge around 10:15 p.m. on May 20. | Credit: Tayden Tomblin

Update Friday 7:30 a.m.: In the early hours of Friday morning, firefighters stopped forward progress of the Loma Fire, and at 12:30 a.m. evacuation orders were lifted. Firefighters “continue to mop up hot spots and secure containment,” according S.B. County Fire’s Mike Eliason in a Twitter post at 6:28 a.m. The last reported containment was 40 percent, and the revised acreage burned is now at 10 acres. Two homes were damaged, and no injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire, which broke out at around 9 p.m. on Thursday in Santa Barbara’s Westside, is under investigation.

Update 11:20 p.m.: The first person to respond to Thursday night’s Loma Fire was Jose Arevalo, the property manager from the Dreier building on Miramonte Drive next to the KEYT TV station on TV Hill. Arevalo put a professional firehose on the fire before the fire crews came. There are three fire hydrants nearby. The fire is controlled on TV Hill, but 50 homes have been threatened, and one was damaged. The fire as of 11 p.m. is still 0 percent contained, according to KEYT. 

Seventeen engine crews are on the scene, and evacuation orders are in effect for the 900 block of Miramonte Drive as well as Weldon Road, Isleta Avenue, Arroyo Avenue, and Loma Alta from San Andres to Weldon.

The Red Cross set up a station at the Leadbetter Beach parking lot for those who were forced to evacuate from their homes, according to KEYT.

Update 11:10 p.m.: Victoria Harvey has lived in her home on Miramonte Drive for 25 years. Today, she and her two adult kids had to flee their home when a vegetation fire broke out Thursday night, burning up TV Hill toward the Mesa.

Harvey was sitting in the kitchen and could hear multiple fire trucks leaving the station on Cliff Drive. Her house is just across the street from the KEYT news station.

“I started thinking, oh, that’s weird, they’re getting louder,” Harvey said. “Then oh — they’re on our street. We go up from the dining room window and looked out the window, and we could see the flames.”

Harvey’s 19-year-old daughter shouted for them to evacuate, so they quickly gathered some of their most important belongings, like her jewelry box and the computers, and scrambled out the door. While the kids loaded the car, Harvey hosed down the house. They unfortunately had to leave their cat behind. 

“We started driving out, three cars for three drivers, and it was hard to get off of Miramonte going toward Carrillo because it was all backed up,” she said. 

Update 11:04 p.m.: The specific evacuation orders for the Loma Fire are for the 900 block of Miramonte Drive as well as Weldon Road, Isleta Avenue, Arroyo Avenue, and Loma Alta from San Andres to Weldon. The police advise residents to follow media coverage closely for updates and, if you feel unsafe, evacuate.

Firefighters have responded to one large home that caught fire and was damaged off Via del Cielo, above Loma Alta.

The original story follows.

A wind-powered brush fire broke out a little after 9 p.m. on Thursday night above the Lower Westside in Santa Barbara, starting near Loma Alta Drive and quickly blowing up TV Hill. Huge flames could be seen across town, forcing the KEYT television station to be evacuated and threatening other homes atop Miramonte Drive. 

The firefighter response was quick and massive, and by 9:50 p.m., the situation appeared less dangerous. But evacuations were still being pursued along Loma Alta and Miramonte. The estimated size was around 20 acres on the wooded hill. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Login

Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.