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Wild Fire

playing with fire:
the perfect firestorm

Increasingly, tourists, social media influencers, and reckless individuals are frequenting Hot Springs Creek and lighting fires. 

These "human ignition" fires (as Firefighters call them), mixed with the geographical evacuation difficulties of the area and lack of fire insurance for residents, makes Hot Springs Creek the perfect tinder for another Santa Barbara disaster.

About Us

The Friends of Hot Springs Creek is a non-profit that aims to protect the Creek’s exceptional riparian wildlife and plant habitat while minimizing wildfire danger to lower the risks of death and destruction to hikers and residents.  We partner with other environmental organizations to educate the public about preserving the Creek’s watershed for future generations.


The hot springs creek protected habitat


hot springs creek is a stunning beautiful riparian habitat.

It drops down the Hot Springs Canyon watershed through oak woodlands and chaparral, before merging with Montecito Creek and reaching the Pacific. 

the creek is home to unique and legally protected wildlife,

including Southern California steelhead, California red-legged frog, coast range newt, southwestern pond turtle, two-striped garter snake, and Cooper’s hawk.


the hot springs creek habitat also features protected plant species,

including Plummer’s Baccharis, ocellated Humbolt lily, umbrella larkspur, Ojai fritillary, coastal oaks, arroyo willow thickets, western sycamore woodland, California bay forest, Santa Barbara honeysuckle, black-flowered figwort, and late-flowered mariposa lily.

unfortunately, terrible wildfires regularly sweep hot springs creek and the neighboring canyons.

The wildfires have resulted in death, injury and destruction, including firefighters and long-time nearby residents.

In 2008, the Tea Fire was started by ten City College students jumping a locked gate to party and start a bonfire.  The Tea Fire ignited in the adjacent canyon west of Hot Springs Creek, burned 1,940 acres and destroyed 210 homes within several hours, with hundreds unable to evacuate who sheltered in Westmont College’s gym while the wildfire burned to within 10 feet.

In 2017, the Thomas Fire consumed 281,000 acres, burned 1,063 structures, and cost $2.2 billion, with two people losing their lives—one a firefighter.  In 2018,  the 1/9 Debris Flow that resulted from the Thomas Fire raged down Hot Springs Creek and four other Montecito canyons, with the entire disaster killing 23 Montecito residents and destroying or damaging 600 homes. 

Those living near the Creek fear the next sundowner-driven wildfire disaster.  People started most area fires during the past 50 years.    


help protect santa barbara from another fire disaster!

contact us

Please assist Friends of Hot Springs Creek in protecting Hot Springs Creek from environmental damage from digging, damming or other vandalism.  Information and photographs may be sent to or by filling out the form below.

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