Covenanters Affected by Santa Barbara Fire

Post a Comment » Written on May 7th, 2009     
Filed under: News
SANTA BARBARA, CA (May 7, 2009) – Some members of Montecito Covenant Church’s congregation and staff are among the nearly 14,000 people who have evacuated their homes endangered by the Jesusita Fire that erupted in the area on Tuesday, says Pastor Don Johnson.

FireIt is the second major fire in the area in less than a year. The Tea Fire last November destroyed numerous homes, including those of several MCC members. Johnson said he has not heard whether the homes of anyone connected to the church have been burned in the latest conflagration.

Santa Barbara County officials issued a press release saying some of the people who had been evacuated were allowed to return to their homes this morning, but there was no estimate of how many people were affected.

“The fires, as far as I can tell from our house, are a couple of miles due west of us and north into the hills,” Johnson said this morning. “I’m not sure if they are overlapping the old fire. These began much further west from us, whereas the Tea Fire began just north of us in the hills above Westmont (College) and the church.”

JohnsonThe Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department has warned that another 13,000 may need to evacuate. Johnson said his bags are packed in case he needs to vacate the area. (At the same time, Johnson also is working on the funeral service for his father, retired Covenant Pastor Norbert Johnson, who died Wednesday in Minneapolis, Minnesota.)

Eight firefighters have been injured in the blaze that has consumed more than 500 acres, according to the Associated Press. “We really can’t do any containment lines. It’s too dangerous,” Santa Barbara County fire Capt. David Sadecki said. “We’re doing some structure protection, but firefighters can be in a safe location one minute and in a dangerous situation the next.”

Editor’s note: the accompanying photos appeared on Don Johnson’s blog – he is pictured in the lower photo with smoke from the nearby fire clearly visible.

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