The city of Solvang will hold its annual Julefest Christmas Tree Burn on Friday, Jan. 5, as scheduled after receiving clearance from the Santa Barbara County fire marshal.
The Central Coast’s largest annual bonfire event, complete with live music, begins at 5 p.m. on the grounds of Mission Santa Ines.
“There’s food vendors. There’s music. Bring chairs. Mark off your spot, just like going to see fireworks on Fourth of July,” said county Fire Station 30 Capt. Lonny Maniscalco.
The city considered delaying the event as the Thomas fire continued burning through Los Padres National Forest some 30 miles away. More than 8,500 firefighters responded to what became the largest wildfire in California history, taking two lives, burning 1,063 structures and more than 281,000 acres.
A Solvang Parks and Recreation Department employee and a firefighter at Santa Barbara County Fire Station 30 in Solvang confirmed the event had been cleared for lighting Friday night.
Christmas trees, yule trees and holiday conifers alike are traditionally welcomed for the conflagration supervised by firefighters. Trees are stacked in a field at Old Mission Santa Inez and set ablaze to help residents dispose of their dried out decorations, and to demonstrate just how easily and quickly they burn.
The event, coordinated by Solvang Parks & Recreation Department, provides free, live entertainment. Refreshments are also on sale.