Newsmakers with JR
Remarkable Video from Inside Disaster Zone
Long before Mike Eliason became the most conscientious and helpful Public Information Officer in the history of government flacks, he was the best daily news photographer Newsmakers ever encountered over three decades of newspapering.
Now serving as PIO for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Mike has captured and assembled the most remarkable and important visual record of the historic community catastrophe that began last month with the Thomas Fire, and that sadly continues today in the wake of the deadly storm and landslide that decimated Montecito.
Most recently, a collection of video recordings made within the disaster zone, which you can find here, provide a singular, eyeball witness view of the scope and scale of the devastation - and close-up looks of the heroic efforts of first responders working to allay the chaos.
These images, often hard to watch, combine Mike’s extraordinary journalistic eye, a huge talent honed through decades of professional and prize-winning work in Santa Barbara, with unparalleled access to ground zero of the ruins.
“The scope of the devastation is unbelievable,” he wrote in posting the videos on his Facebook page. “Progress is being made, but it will take a long time to repair.”
Here is one of the 20 short videos he posted this week, showing the destruction of San Ysidro Ranch.
A scroll back through the weeks of images he posted on FB since the fire began provides a beginning-to-now perspective. Mike’s Twitter feed - SBCFireinfo@Eliason - is another great source of visual information.
Mike and his work both are community treasures.
Image: Santa Barbara County Fire Department PIO Mike Eliason talks to Los Angeles Times reporter Brittny Mejia (photo by Ryan Collum).