Direct Relief has offered emergency assistance to the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services in response to the Tea Fire burning in the foothills of Santa Barbara and Montecito.
Firefighters and other emergency responders are using N-95 particulate respirators provided by Direct Relief. The masks help protect against fine particulate matter in heavy smoke and ash that can be harmful to breathe. Additional medical aid stands ready in Direct Relief’s Goleta warehouse should it be needed.
Starting at 5:45 pm Thursday, the fire swiftly consumed dry brush as winds from 25 to 75 miles per hour whipped flames up heavily wooded hillsides, threatening homes in Santa Barbara and Montecito. Residents north of Mountain Drive and Cold Spring Road have been ordered to evacuate.
Direct Relief has extensive experience responding to California wildfires, including the Gap Fire in Santa Barbara earlier this year and the San Diego ildfires of 2007. That experience has shown that the N-95 masks become increasingly important as smoke and ash increase. A high wind warning is in effect for the area.