Sizeup: The cause of the fire appears to be the result of carelessness rather than criminal intent. Sometime Wednesday evening, November 12, the ten apparently headed up to the Tea Garden to party and this including starting what the Sheriff called a bonfire. When they left sometime between 3 and 5 a.m. Thursday morning, those who attended the gathering told investigators that they thought they had put out the fire, which was built near a wall in the Tea Garden area. Rather than dying out, coals from the fire continued to smolder throughout the day and ignited when the strong sundowner winds picked up Thursday evening.
Investigation: An anonymous tip led to the discovery. Brown declined to identify those involved and added that the investigation is still ongoing. At this time reports are being prepared and submitted to the District Attorney's office which will decide if any criminal charges will be filed. Anyone with additional information regarding the start of the Tea Fire is encouraged to call the Tip Line at (805) 681-4171.
Fire outcome: The fire is 100% contained at 1,940 acres.
More than two dozen people were injured in the fire, including a Montecito couple who remained in critical condition Tuesday at the University of California, Irvine, Medical Center.
Nine residences are damaged and 210 are destroyed.
CAL FIRE ARSON HOTLINEOr call the Santa Barbara Sheriff's anonymous tip hotline (805) 681-4171.
Note: Was California Fire News responsible for some of the tips?
1.) CA-MTO- TEA - WUI Fire -1,940 acres - 100%
2.) TEA FIRE - HUMAN CAUSED - INFO SOUGHT