New Brush Removal Program In Santa Barbara County Targets Potential High Risk Area

May 14, 2019

It’s a sound we’ve heard much too often on the Central and South Coasts. It’s the sound of a brush fire churning through brush, in this case in the Goleta area, during last summer’s destructive Holiday Fire. Now, thanks to a state grant, a new effort is getting underway to reduce the future brush fire threat in one of the region’s most at-risk areas.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department Captain Daniel Bertucelli says the four year long project is focusing on the Lompoc Valley area.

There are more the 14,000 homes in the project’s area. The plan includes treatments for community defensible space around Vandenberg Village and Mission Hills, and 15 miles of roadside fuel reduction along Harris Grade, Rucker and Burton Mesa Roads. It also includes the removal of over 150 dead trees within the La Purisma Mission, and an 18-mile fuel treatment area from Vandenberg Air Force Base to the outskirts of Buellton.

The firefighter says the hope is that the end result of the four year effort will be improving safety for the area’s residents, as well as improving the chances for homes, and other structures to survive a brush fire. The work involves the removal of fuels by a special Santa Barbara County Fire Department team.

The state part of the two million dollar plus project comes from a unique source: a state fund focused on reducing pollution.

At the end of his final term in office, Governor Jerry Brown made preventing large brush, and forest fires a high priority. New Governor Gavin Newsom also says he will devote resources to the issues. The result is that we may see more projects of this type on the Central and South Coasts.