Heaps of metal, contorted by the Alisal Fire and rusted in the months since, marked the places along Refugio Canyon where homes and other structures once stood. The remote location, coupled with the absence of disaster relief funding, has made it nearly impossible for property owners to clean up individually. Meanwhile, the proximity of these sites to Refugio Creek has made it imperative to clear debris to prevent pollutants from contaminating local streams, the ground, and air.
Thirteen structures were burned when the Alisal Fire claimed 17,000 acres in November of 2021. In the months since, Channelkeeper has worked with local organizations to manage stormwater runoff and clear debris from burned homes and structures in Refugio Canyon as part of the Alisal Fire Assistance Project.
In April, Channelkeeper staff joined forces with the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade and Habitat for Humanity to remove debris from a burned site in Refugio Canyon. We gathered small pieces of metal and carried it by wheelbarrow to a dumpster for safe removal. We loaded larger burned items, such as bicycles, chairs, and mowers into a utility vehicle that carried the debris to the dumpster. In December, before the arrival of winter rains, our team dug trenches and installed forty-five straw wattles, tubes of compressed straw purchased by Heal the Ocean, to prevent fire-related pollutants from being carried to waterways.
Channelkeeper is pleased to partner with these organizations to help lend a hand—part of our ongoing work to support our community and keep local watersheds clean and healthy.