Entry Title: "
Fire in Paradise"
These images were taken during the Jesusita Fire in Santa Barbara, California earlier this year. The fires burned over 8,700 acres of land and took with it almost 80 homes and 60 other buildings. The cause of this fire is believed to have been started from the spark of a power tool trying to clear brush, ironically.
To put the chaos into perspective, nearly one third of Santa Barbara's population, about 30,000 people, were evacuated from their homes while the fire threatened the community closer than any in recent memory. Firefighters from all over Southern California swarmed to Santa Barbara to help the locals battle the blaze, including over 500 engines, 11 airtankers, and 15 helicopters, which cost the city approximately $12 million.
This project was kind of a first for me, diving right into a story with fragile boundaries and possible danger. The two days of shooting the Jesusita Fire was an overwhelming experience and my emotions were pulled in every direction. Standing amidst the rubble of a stranger's home, I felt intrusive yet curious, sad yet grateful, and found myself sifting through some of the debris in hopes of finding even one thing of importance to give back to these people, though I was unsuccessful. But, aside from seeing black hills and destroyed homes, I witnessed neighbors helping neighbors, facilities opening themselves up to those who need a place to eat and sleep, and firefighters who came from 90 miles away to help their exhausted fellow brothers and sisters, all heroes, continue to battle the flames.
The fire was successfully contained almost two weeks after flaring up, and although 28 firefighters were injured, none were serious and more importantly, no lives were lost.