Flames From the Alisal Fire Move Rapidly Across Santa Barbara County

  • The Alisal Fire has burned more than 15,000 acres in two days in California’s Santa Barbara County.
  • Local authorities say the fire will be hard to contain.
  • Approximately 270 people have been evacuated as of Wednesday.

The Alisal Fire has engulfed more than 15,443 acres in California’s Santa Barbara County over the course of two days, leading to nearly 300 evacuations and threatening approximately 100 structures, according to a Santa Barbara County press release

The fire began on Monday afternoon just after 2 p.m. local time near Alisal Reservoir. The cause of the fire is unknown. As of Wednesday afternoon, the fire was 5% contained, according to Daniel Bertucelli, the public information officer for Santa Barbara County Fire.

The area has not experienced a fire in over 65 years. 

An official from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department told CBSLA that “40 to 50 mile per hour winds, extensive drought and steep topography” have created the “perfect storm of a fire that is going to be very challenging to contain and to control.” 

The LA Times referred to the Southern California fire as the region’s first major fire of the season.

According to the Santa Barbara County website, evacuations are mandatory for Arroyo Hondo Canyon, Refugio Canyon, and the area between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo areas. Approximately 270 people have had to evacuate, according to a Tuesday press release.

The county website also said evacuation warnings have already been sent out to El Capitan Beach State Park, west of Dos Pueblos Canyon Rd, and south of West Camino Cielo, the area east of Calle Mariposa Reina, west of Arroyo Hondo, and south of West Camino Cielo. 

The 101 freeway between 1 and Winchester Canyon Road/Cathedral Oaks is currently closed in both directions.

California has had 7,064 fire incidents this season, including the Dixie Fire, which has burned nearly a million acres, destroyed more than 1,300 structures, and resulted in one death, according to CalFire.

Ronald Reagan’s California home, known as “Western White House,” is located a quarter-mile from the fire, according to the LA Times.

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