The Full Wiki

Tea Fire: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Montecito Tea Fire article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Montecito Tea Fire
Montecito Tea Fire
Location Montecito, California, United States
Date November 13, 2008 (November 14 UTC)-November 17
17:50 PDT (1:50 UTC)
Burned area 1,940 acres (8 km2)
Land use Residential; Open space
Fatalities Potentially 1[1]
Injuries 13
Perpetrator(s) 10 college students[2]
Motive Bonfire party

The Montecito Tea Fire is a wildfire that began on November 13, 2008, destroying 210 homes in the cities of Montecito and Santa Barbara, California in the United States of America.[3] It was the first of several November 2008 wildfires that burned hundreds of homes November 13–15, 2008. The Tea Fire ignited in the Cold Springs section of Montecito at approximately 17:50 PST on November 13, 2008. The fire started at a Mar Y Cel historic structure called the "Tea House" above Mountain Drive,[4] giving the fire its name. Spreading rapidly, it was fanned by offshore winds, known as Sundowners that blow down the Santa Ynez Mountains, gusting up to 70 mph (113 km/h). These winds caused the fire to spread into the city of Santa Barbara.[5] The fire was 40% contained on the 12th,[6] 75% on the 13th,[7] and by November 15, 2008 it was 95% contained after burning 1,940 acres (7.9 km2) [2], and on November 17, it was 100% contained.

On November 15, 2008, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger visited areas burned in the Tea Fire, noting: "When you walk around the area that was destroyed, it looks like hell."[8]



The cause of the fire was under investigation for the first four days when authorities determined on November 17th that it was "human caused".[9] The following day, Santa Barbara Sheriff's investigators announced that the fire was caused by a group of ten men and women, age 18 to 22, college students, who went to the abandoned Tea House on the night of Wednesday, November 12 and held a bonfire party at the location, through the early morning hours of Thursday, November 13.[10] The students told investigators they had put the fire out, but authorities believe the fire smoldered until the heavy winds ignited the fire on Thursday afternoon.[2]

On November 20, 2008, Dr. Andreea M. Serban, President of Santa Barbara City College, issued a statement noting that "nine of the ten individuals identified as allegedly responsible for the Tea Fire have been confirmed as Santa Barbara City College students."[11]



Injuries and evacuations

Santa Barbara County officials stated that they had reports of 13 persons injured, including 10 who were treated for smoke inhalation and three with burn injuries, one of which was critical. [12] There is a foundation for two burn victims of the fire, Lance & Carla Hoffman. Information on this foundation including benefits and donations can be found on facebook's group "Tea Fire Survivors: Lance and Karla Hoffman". The fire resulted in the evacuation of 5,400 homes with 15,000 residents.[6] Approximately 2,700 evacuees were back home by the November 16, 2008.[5] There was one fatality amongst the evacuees, a 98-year-old man, though the county sheriff-coroner had not ascertained yet if the death was due to the fire or his multiple medical problems.[13]

Destruction of 210 homes

"My wife called and said 'Montecito is on fire -- get out'. And I thought she was kidding. We got in the car, pulled out of the driveway and the entire mountain behind was flames 200 feet high -- shooting into the air. Embers were raining down, they were in our shirts and in our hair, and the wind was easily 70 mile per hour... it was Armageddon!" (Rob Lowe, November 14, 2008)

The Tea Fire resulted in the destruction of 210 homes in Montecito and Santa Barbara.[3][7] Of the destroyed homes, 106 were in the city of Santa Barbara, and the remainder were in Montecito. One of the homes destroyed in the fire belonged to actor Christopher Lloyd ("Doc" Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy).[15][16][14] Actor Rob Lowe, who lives in the area struck by the fire, was forced to flee his home.

Television personality Oprah Winfrey owns a 42-acre (170,000 m2) estate in the area. She began her Friday, November 14th The Oprah Winfrey Show talking about the fire and her concern for neighbors. Winfrey's house was spared, but Winfrey noted, "From now on I'll have so much more empathy and compassion for people who are going through it."[17]

Westmont College

The campus of Westmont College was heavily damaged, though no injuries were reported on the campus.[18] The Physics Lab, Psychology Building, Math Building, and many of the faculty homes were destroyed. Two of the residence halls in Clark residence hall were severely damaged, along with the RD cottage.[19] With the recovery phase initiated over the weekend, faculty and staff were allowed back on campus November 17th, but the school was scheduled to remain closed to students until December 1st.[20]

Montreat College later extended an offer to all Westmont College students to attend Montreat for the spring 2009 semester free of charge.

Mount Calvary Retreat House and Monastery

The Mount Calvary Retreat House and Monastery in Santa Barbara, part of the Order of the Holy Cross, was also destroyed.[21][22]

Response and resources

"My family and I have come many, many times to the Santa Barbara area. We think it’s the most beautiful area. But the area we walked around today looked like hell". (Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, November 15, 2008)

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for Santa Barbara County due to the Tea Fire.[23] Schwarzenegger issued a statement that he was "making all state resources available to the fire commanders and was requesting assistance from the federal government as well."[24]

On November 14, 2008, 1,141 personnel were on the scene, including 260 from CalFire, and 25 fire crews. They were supported by 193 engines, 7 dozers, and 1 watertender. Resources were expanded on November 15 to include 2,235 firefighters and 9 helicopters with cost estimates of $3.5 million,[6] which increased to $3.9 million the following day.

Staffed from 8 a.m. to midnight, a public information call center was established to provide updates and status reports. Information was made available on the County Government cable TV station, as well as specific AM and FM radios that provided Emergency Public Information. CSBTV Channel 20 ran Live Video Stream.[25]

San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara became an emergency shelter, operated by the American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter. Earl Warren Showgrounds was opened for large animal evacuees, while small animals could be brought to the Santa Barbara Humane Society in Goleta.[25]

See also


  1. ^ Chawkins, Steve; Sahagun, Louis; Weiss, Kenneth R. (2008-11-14). "Montecito fire consumes 111 homes". Los Angeles Times.,0,3157160.story. Retrieved 2008-11-15.  
  2. ^ a b c "Bonfire party caused Montecito fire". Los Angeles Times. 2008-11-18.  
  3. ^ a b County of Santa Barbara News Release 008, November 16, 2008
  4. ^ "Tea fire". Los Angeles Times. 2008-11-14.,0, Retrieved 2008-11-15.  
  5. ^ a b Associated Press (November 16, 2008). "TEA FIRE UPDATE: 40 percent contained, 5,400 evacuees, 13 injured". Retrieved 2008-11-16.  
  6. ^ a b c d Meagher, Chris (November 15, 2008). "Tea Fire 40 Percent Contained". The Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 2008-11-15.  
  7. ^ a b "'Minimal threat' seen from Tea fire; containment now at 75%". The Lompoc Record. November 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-16.  
  8. ^ Louis Sahagun, Mike Anton and Mitchell Landsberg (2008-11-16). "Catastrophic fires blaze a path of destruction through Southland". Los Angeles Times.,0,6439780.story.  
  9. ^ "SoCal Fire Roundup: Firefighters Gain Ground". November 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-17.  
  10. ^ Mohajer, S.T. (November 19, 2008). "Student Bonfire Blamed for 1 Wildfire". Retrieved 2008-11-19.  
  11. ^
  12. ^ Boitnott, John; Buck, Bonnie; Ebright, Olsen; Lloyd, Jonathan (2008-11-14). "13 People Injured, 100 Homes Destroyed in Montecito Blaze". NBC News. Retrieved 2008-11-15.  
  13. ^ "Montecito 'Tea Fire' Destroys 100+ Homes, Kills One Man". November 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-17.  
  14. ^ a b "Stars' Homes Destroyed & Threatened By Montecito Fire". Access Hollywood.  
  15. ^ Brenoff, Ann. "Christopher Lloyd among the unlucky". LA Times. Retrieved 2008-11-15.  
  16. ^ "CA MTO Tea Fire Update 3000+ Acres". California Fire News.  
  17. ^ Rex Huppke (2008-11-14). "Oprah: Empathy for neighbors in 'tea fire' in Montecito". Chicago Tribune.,0,1806672.story.  
  18. ^ "Fire destroys 80 houses in Montecito". Los Angeles Times. 2008-11-14.,0,2370726.story.  
  19. ^ "Tea Fire update from Westmont College". Westmont College. 2008-11-14.  
  20. ^ Lerner, Danielle (November 17, 2008). "School still out at Westmont College due to Tea Fire". Retrieved 2008-11-18.  
  21. ^ "Mount Calvary Monastery, in Santa Barbara, CA, destroyed by fire". Retrieved 2008-11-18.  
  22. ^ "On the morning of November 14, 2008". Retrieved 2008-11-18.  
  23. ^ "Governor Schwarzenegger declares a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County". KSBY 6 Action News. 2008-11-14.  
  24. ^ "Emergency Declared in California Wildfire". Red Orbit.  
  25. ^ a b "Tea Fire Information Last Updated:11/16/2008 9:23:37 PM". November 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-17.  

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address