Refugio Canyon residents return home after evacuation orders lifted – CBS Los Angeles



REFUGIO CANYON (CBSLA) – Shelter-in-place and evacuation orders for residents living in the Alisal burn zone have been rescinded, although authorities still warn people should be aware of the potential dangers that could arise from the downpour.

Refugio Canyon in Santa Barbara County. (credit: CBS)

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Luigi Germani returned to his Santa Barbara County home after spending the night in a hotel during the storm, which brought heavy rain

“Due to the potential for a landslide, as there is no more vegetation at the top of the mountain, the earth can give way at any time,” said Germani, an owner in the area.

The hills around his property were marked by the Alisal fire, which destroyed a dozen houses and made life difficult for locals.

“We have not had a telephone line since the fire started on October 11, which is two weeks ago today,” Germani said.

After the decrease in precipitation, the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department inspected Refugio Canyon.

Lael Wageneck of the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department said the situation in the area appeared to be stable.

READ MORE: Orange County residents in burn zones closely monitor rainwater flowing down canyons

“It sounds awesome. As you can see the water is flowing through. There is no debris or mud flowing into it. So that’s the best we can hope for, ”he said.

Officials feared a repeat of 2018, when Montecito was hit by deadly mudslides caused by heavy rain in burn scars from Thomas’ fire. So, in the face of the rain, the teams got down to work on the flood channels.

A Red Cross refuge was set up because at least 300 people were subject to an evacuation order.

(credit: CBS)

“The maintenance crews were here to clean up the vegetation, clean up the creek to make sure that whatever was there would run smoothly,” Wageneck said.

Back at Germani’s property, the Refugio Canyon resident worried about his cows, which help him clear the brush. Their faces were covered in ash as they scoured the charred landscape for things to eat.

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The main road to Refugio Canyon is currently only accessible to residents, and it is still unclear when phone and internet services will be fully restored to the affected areas.


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