San Diego

Strike Team Sent to Santa Barbara County to Help with Flooding

The area was devastated by the Thomas Fire in December 2017

A strike team from northern San Diego was sent to the Santa Barbara area Thursday to help with the flooding from the latest rainstorm there.

The area was devastated by the Thomas Fire in December 2017. Thursday was the third consecutive day of rain in the burn zones that are susceptible to flooding and dangerous mudflow. So far, there hasn't been a repeat of the landslide from the Jan. 9 downpour.

At least 17 people were killed and several others injured when the heavy winter storm brought ravaging floods and mudslides.

The crews left Wednesday morning in preparation for the latest storm.

The San Diego, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Carlsbad Fire Departments each contributed one engine and several firefighters to form the 21-firefighter Type III Strike Team.

Mutual assistance was requested for the area for assistance with flooding and rescue, should the need arise.

With the storm expected to last through Thursday, there was concern about the combination of rainfall rates and the long duration, said Suzanne Grimmesey, a spokeswoman for Santa Barbara County. Santa Barbara County ordered evacuations of areas along its south coast near areas burned by several wildfires dating back to 2016.

Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said Thursday there have been no debris flows and no trouble with creeks or debris basins. The rain has been through cycles of intensifying and then backing off, but there have been no periods of intense rain in a short amount of time as happened in January.

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