December 4th  marks a painful anniversary in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.
It was three years ago that the Thomas Wildfire started in Ventura County.  

The 280,000 acre inferno killed two people, destroyed more than a thousand structures and caused an estimated $2.2 billion dollars in damage. 

It also stripped some mountain slopes above Montecito bare, setting the stage for the January 2018 Montecito debris flow which killed 23 people, and destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes.

It was another rough day for new coronavirus cases being reported on the Central and South Coasts.  Thursday’s total includes 616 cases, with 401 in Ventura County, 134 in Santa Barbara County, and 81 in San Luis Obispo County.

The region’s total since the start of the pandemic is now approaching the 40,000 mark.  Ventura County has had 21,388 cases, Santa Barbara County 11,845, and San Luis Obispo County 6459.

Santa Ana winds created some potentially dangerous wildfire conditions for Ventura and Los Angeles Counties, but meteorologists say the highest wind conditions have already passed.

The wind is predicted to gradually taper off as we move into the weekend.

There are Red Flag Warnings for high brush fire danger for Ventura and Los Angeles County coastal areas and valleys until 6 Friday night.  The Red Flag Warnings for Ventura and Los Angeles County mountains will continue until 10 p.m. Saturday.

We could see new COVID-19 stay-at-home orders which would once again shut down things like in-person restaurant dining on the Central and South Coasts.  The state is responding to the surge in coronavirus cases with a plan triggered if a region’s hospital intensive care unit capacity drops below 15%.

Governor Gavin Newsom says with the state seeing its highest new coronavirus case numbers since the start of the pandemic, action was needed.

More than 900 new COVID-19 cases were reported on the Central and South Coasts Wednesday, the highest total since the start of the pandemic.

Ventura County was hardest hit, with 794 additional cases.

(SPARC photo)

An injured owl is getting some help thanks to police and an animal rescue group in Ventura County.

Santa Paula Police responded to a call of an "owl down."  An injured Great Horned owl was found in a Santa Paula neighborhood.  The injured bird was taken to the Raptor Center in Ojai, which helps injured birds.  

A popular Central Coast Park is reopening after getting a more than $850,000 makeover.

Russell Park in Santa Maria opens on Saturday with new and improved amenities, after investment from federal and state grants. 

Two service dogs have been recruited to the newly created Ventura County District Attorney’s Courthouse Facility Dog program.

The two black Labrador retrievers, ‘Star’ and ‘Trakr’ are trained to provide physical and emotional support to assist victims of crime – including during giving evidence in Court.

A new wave of Santa Ana wind conditions for Ventura and Los Angeles Counties means we will see elevated brush fire danger for the next few days, as well as some possible public safety power shutoffs.

A dry offshore could set the stage for wind in the 35-50 mile an hour range on the coast and inland, with gusts topping 60 miles an hour possible in the mountains.

It was a very rough day in the battle against COVID-19 on the Central and South Coasts, with more than 900 new cases reported Wednesday.

Most of the additional cases came from Ventura County, which had nearly 800 cases.

Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin says it’s unclear as to whether the big number is a fluke, or the result of a post-Thanksgiving surge.

It’s a parent’s nightmare.  You send your son off to college, and he has a mental health crisis:

That’s the situation Tom and Leslie Franklin of Solvang faced.  But, to make matters worse, Santa Barbara County didn’t have a mental health inpatient rehabilitation facility.  Their son ended up in Los Angeles County.  That type of situation has finally changed in the county.

Elks Recreation

It’s being billed as a COVID-safe Christmas spectacular on the Central Coast. 

Elks Rodeo in Santa Maria– which has been closed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic – has teamed up with City of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department to create a drive-through ‘Christmas in The Country’, featuring real-life camels. 

(Ventura County Fire Department photo)

A federal grand jury indicted the captain of a dive boat which caught fire in the Channel Islands with 34 counts of manslaughter, with one count for each person who died in the inferno.  The grand jury says that as the master of the vessel, the captain of the "Conception" was responsible for the safety and security of those on board.

The COVID-19 surge is continuing in our region, with nearly 200 new coronavirus cases reported on the Central and South Coasts. 

Ventura County added 127 cases Tuesday, Santa Barbara County 29, and San Luis Obispo County 38.  Public health officials say the numbers may be on the low side because of the testing shutdown over the holiday weekend.

What’s predicted to be a moderate Santa Ana wind event could create high wildfire danger for parts of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties for the next few days.

Meteorologists say a dry offshore flow will mean wind in the 40 miles an hour range for much of Ventura County.  There’s Red Flag Warnings beginning at 6 Wednesday night for Ventura and Los Angeles County mountains, valleys, and coastal areas.  They’re expected to remain in place until this weekend.