Bonfire built by students caused Montecito fire, sheriff says The suspects say they thought the fire had gone out when they left the ridge-top site Thursday morning. The D.A.'s office will decide if they will be charged with any crimes. By Catherine Saillant and Jean Merl November 19, 2008 Reporting from Los Angeles and Montecito -- A smoldering bonfire built by students on a ridge-top overlooking Montecito apparently sparked last week's disastrous Tea fire, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Tuesday. Ten men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 22, had gathered at an abandoned property called the Teahouse late Wednesday night and built a bonfire to warm themselves, Brown said. Bonfire built by students caused Montecito fire, sheriff says - Los Angeles Times read the article..they have charged a mentally handicapped guy with arson....for fires...will these students be charged?? GET A BURNING PERMIT..THIS TELLS YOU ...1. ARE THEY ISSUING THEM 2. GIVES THE FIRE PO POS..A CLUE WHERE THE FIRE BEGAN how damned stupid are people? you never leave a fire like that? if you are gonna build a fire when its dry....A REAL STUPID IDEA to begin with..never leave the fire...until its out....a bonfire takes hours ..sometimes as long as 12 or more to go out....you should first of all..have water....why? cause you may let the fire get out of control and need water....if you dont have water...which agains means you shouldn't have fire...then at least take a shovel and dig around the fire...(which wont stop the winds from carrying embers) all the way around ...now if its windy you wont help things...but then who was that stupid person who decided to build a bonfire in a windy area??? now here is the real trick..then you begin to bury the fire...by digging the fire up and turning it over....in an attempt to suffocate the coals or embers...this is pretty easy with a campfire in a ring...not so easy with a bonfire...then after all is said and done....we leave a person there for a while...that person will normally be the one we couldnt talk out of the fire. this person should be armed with water and a shovel and a cellphone....last advice...if you are doing something and you do something stupid..dont run...call the fire department...they may be upset with you......but they will put the fire out and ask questions later.