Media Contacts: Steve Lyle, CDFA Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462 or email@example.com, Scott Grieve, Earl Warren Showgrounds CEO, (805)687-0766
SANTA BARBARA, May 11, 2009 – The Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara has seen considerable activity as a staging area for firefighters and as a large animal shelter due to the St. Jesusita Fire.
“Fairgrounds throughout California are routinely used during emergencies, and the wildfire in Santa Barbara is no exception,” said California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “When California has a fire on this scale, the evacuees tend to include many livestock, pets and other rescued animals that need the kinds of facilities and care that our fairgrounds can provide.”
Earl Warren Showgrounds has been used as a staging area for fire and law enforcement officials who have responded to the fire. Approximately 1,200 fire fighters are based at the facility, which has served as a shelter for large, evacuated animals including 120 horses, 20 rabbits, 22 chickens, 3 roosters, 27 goats, 10 opossums, 5 parakeets, 4 pigs, 2 mules, 1 cat, 1 donkey, 1 cockatiel and 1 llama.
The Showgrounds also hosted the Operational Area Satellite Information System or OASIS 7 that Caltrans staff manages around the clock in the event of an emergency, when communications services are vitally needed. Housed in a portable trailer and ready to be towed to any area of California where assigned, the OASIS provides 24 banks of telephone lines using a satellite system and 24 electronic connections for computer equipment, including laptops.
The Department of Food & Agriculture’s (CDFA) Division of Fairs & Expositions provides fiscal and policy oversight to the Network of California Fairs and ensures compliance with laws and regulations, and the best use of available funding and other services. California's 78 fairs are located throughout the Golden State from early spring to the fall of each year. For more information go to http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/fe/.