Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Smoke before fire, but both before information

We were visiting family this weekend, and spent a fair amount of time assuring them that we weren't affected by any of the California wildfires, as they were hundreds of miles north of us. And then last night, a fire broke out maybe ten miles from where we live.

The Santa Barbara Independent -- a free, weekly paper -- has had excellent coverage of the fire, with lots of updates on the fire and the status of the evacuations. Their only flaw has been in saying, "For more information, visit the county Fire Department’s website."

I have visited said website, and nowhere is there a mention of the current fire. BlogaBarbara pointed to the Google Group for alerts. A Google Group. In 2008. Please. Nevermind the fact that the only post yesterday is a freaking test of their red alert system, and not an actual post about the actual fire that is burning in the county. I'm sure right now they're a little too busy to set up a blog, or some alert system on their homepage, but maybe they should get it ready for next time. The Independent coverage is good, but it would be nice to have a direct source for the status of the fire and the evacuations.

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