A Description of the Actions of the Forest Service in The Coyote Forest Fire Near Santa Barbara, California in September 1964

Quarantelli, E. L.
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Disaster Research Center
At 2:03 p.m., Tuesday, September 22, 1964, a fire was reported at the junction of Mountain Drive and Coyote Road, several miles northeast of Santa Barbara, California. A tanker truck from the Mountain Drive Forest Service station arrived on the scene almost immediately, and by 2:25 p.m., two converted World War II bombers and begun dropping a fire-retardant on the area. Throughout the day, 8 air tankers, 2 helicopters and crews, 28 tankers, 8 tractors, and 250 firefighters plus Santa Barbara County and City, and Montecito Fire Departments were called into service increasing to a total 1, 500 men by 5:00 a.m. Wednesday. Later a Forest Service official reported that the fire was moving in a northeasterly direction with hot, six to eight mile-per-hour winds and gusts up to forty mile-per-hour quickly increasing its strength, causing it to move toward Hide Track, a residential area just above East Mountain Drive, and down toward Westmont college. In addition to their fire suppression activities, the Forest Service conducted a detailed investigation in order to determine the cause of the fire, to establish its point of origin, and to verify suspected arson activity during the fire. The primary investigation team consisted of a district Forest Service official and the prevention officer from the area in which the fire originated; in this case the Mission Canyon area. As the fire became larger and more complicated, the zone and regional investigators were requested to offer their services. Additional investigation teams were formed with other agencies to investigate the accidents which occurred at Romero Saddle and La Cumbre Peak, and any private complaints voiced against Forest Service activity during the fire suppression activity.
forest service , Coyote forest fire , Santa Barbara, California