Santa Barbara County

flickr member Vaping360

Santa Barbara County is implementing e-cigarette and smoking rules that are tougher than laws on the books in most of the cities in the area. 

Santa Barbara County

UPDATE: Aug. 24, 2015 at 5:28 p.m.

The beach at Lookout Park in Summerland was reopened to the public Monday after being closed on Friday because of oil washing ashore.

John Chestnut/CNPS San Luis Obispo Chapter

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is designating 5,755 acres in Santa Barbara County as critical habitat for the Vandenberg monkeyflower. It's doing so under the Endangered Species Act.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE: Monday, August 10, 2015 at 10:21 p.m.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Unit has positively identified the two victims who were killed in a plane crash Thursday night. The wreckage wasn't located until Friday morning.

Randol White, KCBX News

Home prices are on the rise along the Central Coast according to the latest numbers reflecting the local real estate market. 

US Coast Guard

UPDATE - Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 3:06 p.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) said Thursday that "a slew of" oil samples were sent to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut Thursday morning to determine the cause of a three-mile-long sheen discovered Wednesday.

Jordan Bell

After nearly two months of clean up, Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County is re-opening up Friday.  A pipeline leak in May released some 21-thousand-gallons of crude oil into the Santa Barbara Channel.

Flickr member: KOMUnews

Our intense drought has Central Coast fire protection agencies boosting their efforts to crack down on the use of illegal fireworks.

@SBFireInfo Twitter

UPDATE: July 1, 2015 at 5:10 p.m.

Full containment of the Mesa Fire that started Monday near La Purisima Mission in Lompoc is expected early this evening.  Santa Barbara County Fire said earlier today that the 320 acre fire was at 95 percent.

 A cause has yet to be announced, but the department is looking for a couple of kids who may have been hiking in the area at the time.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department

A federal report released Wednesday shows differing accounts of the thickness of the Plains All-American oil pipeline that ruptured in Santa Barbra County back on May 19.

Third party metallurgists in the field following the oil spill reported the pipeline walls were down to an estimated 1/16th of an inch in some places, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) Amended Corrective Action Order (CAO).

Flickr member Damian Gadal

New wineries in Santa Barbara County could face new rules if local leaders approve a list of proposed changes to the county's Winery Ordinance. 

U.S. Coast Guard District 11

Samples are being taken from tar balls showing up on beaches in Southern California to see if the oil could be coming from the pipeline spill in Santa Barbara County.

The LA County Public Health Department closed beaches Wednesday in the South Bay, including Hermosa and Manhattan Beaches, because of the oil. The beaches could open as soon as Friday.

NOAA says its working to track the Refugio spill's movement with help from scientists at UC Santa Barbara. David Valentine is a Professor of Earth Science at UCSB and says tracking this oil presents a unique challenge.

Jordan Bell

Governor Brown declared a state of emergency for Santa Barbara County Wednesday to aid in cleaning efforts after an oil pipeline rupture at Refugio State Beach.

The ruptured pipeline could have released 105,000 gallons of crude oil into the water off the Santa Barbara County coastline. Crews are working, on and off the shores, to ensure safety and rehabilitate marine life. 

Map: Santa Barbara County Energy Division

Federal, state and local emergency crews were on the scene of a large oil spill along Santa Barbara County's South Coast Tuesday evening.

The US Coast Guard said Tuesday afternoon that the spill stretched roughly four miles in the area of Refugio State Beach.

The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services said Tuesday night that both the campground and beach areas were closed at Refugio. There was also a warning at El Capitan State Beach.

University of California

Efforts to control the spread of the Asian Citrus Psyllid in Santa Barbara County are ramping up with the use of micro-organisms.

Keeping the pest in check is key to protecting the state's $2 billion citrus industry from a disease known as Huanglongbing, or Citrus Greening.

Dr. David Morgan with the California Department of Food and Agriculture said scientists are using a small parasitic wasp that feeds on the psyllids, ultimately killing the pest.