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Dry Weather Impacts Businesses Up and Down the Coast

By Meredith Garofalo, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Meteorologist & Reporter, meredith.garofalo@keyt.com
Published On: Jan 03 2014 04:45:10 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 03 2014 11:43:57 PM CST

A dry calendar year impacts businesses up and down the coast. It also heightens the risk of wildfires.

MONTECITO, Calif. -

A dry calendar year impacts businesses up and down the coast.  It also heightens the risk of wildfires.

Norma Ortiz is a farmer from Ojai, and her business relies on selling products such as sprouts.

"Sprouts mainly grow in water," Ortiz said.  "It's a family business so a lot of us depend on the income."

They also depend on good weather. 

But with the calendar year going down as one of the driest on record across the state, Ortiz says she's very concerned.

"We sprout everything in Ojai, and we are in phase 3 of the water shortage," Ortiz said.  "They're talking about rationing water."

Ortiz is not alone.

Other entrepreneurs say the drought is not only hurting crops, but drying up their wallets.

"Costs can go up from some farms depending on their water sources," said local merchant Josh Parkhurst.  "Whether they're using well or city water, obviously they got to pump more water through the irrigation system, so their water bills are going to go up."

Another concern with all the dry weather is fire danger, as an above-normal large fire potential exists along the coast.

"The field-level moisture levels are still low, they're at just above a critical level, which is at 62 percent throughout the county," said David Sadecki of Santa Barbara County Fire. 

As we've seen, all it could take at this point is a small spark to ignite a dangerous situation like we saw in Big Sur.

"Once it got established in the heavier brush, it was pretty difficult to fight that fire.  So the potential still exists to have a large fire," said Sadecki.

That is why local firefighters urge people to be on alert.

"All those people that are doing that combustible space clearance and they have those burn piles, they're not able to burn those yet until we go to a low fire season transition," Sadecki said.

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