The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management has declared a local state of emergency related to the two wildland fires — the Alamo and Whittier fires — that have been raging near Twitchell Dam and Cachuma Lake, respectively, since earlier this month.
The Board of Supervisors expected to take formal action on the proclamation at its meeting Tuesday morning in Santa Barbara.
Proclaiming a local state of emergency is an essential step for local governments dealing with significant incidents, such as natural disasters, including floods, fires and earthquakes, and ensures all county resources are available for the fire-control efforts and supporting activities.
“Protecting the public, firefighters and other first responders is the county’s top priority, as well as preventing damage to structures, infrastructure and our rich agricultural resources,” said Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Joan Hartmann. “This proclamation is one more step the county can take to respond to these significant events.”
Having the proclamation in place helps facilitate potential state funding, as well as a state declaration of emergency for the entire county, which was also declared on Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown due to the effects of the two fires that have burned thousands of acres, damaged agriculture, businesses and critical infrastructure including power lines, threatened homes and caused the evacuation of residents.
Thirty-fifth District Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, who represents both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, said he was grateful for the governor’s emergency proclamation. Cunningham toured the-fire-ravaged areas last week.