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Santa Barbara

Alisal Fire now 80% contained; evacuation orders lifted

The fire erupted in the Santa Ynez Mountains during high winds on Oct. 11. The cause remains under investigation

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Screenshot via KTLA 5

GOLETA – The Alisal Fire in Santa Barbara County is 80% contained as of Monday morning and its size was holding at about 27 square miles (70 square kilometers), a spokesperson for CAL-FIRE said. The fire erupted in the Santa Ynez Mountains during high winds on Oct. 11. The cause remains under investigation.

All evacuation orders and warnings were canceled Sunday afternoon and residents who fled the blaze have been allowed to return home.

Late last week, the 101 freeway which had been closed so that firefighters could work to contain the blaze was reopened.

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Santa Barbara

Firefighters battle winds as Alisal Fire burns 26 square miles

A stretch of the101 freeway remained closed both directions Thursday due to the Alisal Fire in Santa Barbara County

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Aircraft dropping fire retardant in Santa Barbara County battling Alisal blaze (Screenshot KTLA 5)

GOLETA – A stretch of the 101 freeway remained closed both directions Thursday due to the Alisal Fire in Santa Barbara County, cutting off traffic to Los Angeles. Over 1,300 firefighters are battling the blaze assisted by aircraft dumping water and fire retardant.

Firefighting crews on Thursday were focusing on stopping the movement of the blaze to the west after winds pushed it that way late Wednesday, CAL-FIRE Santa Barbara fire spokesperson Kristen Allison told on scene media in a briefing.

According to Allison, aircraft dropped a long line of fire retardant and water along a ridgetop road to help keep the fire from moving north and a wildfire burn scar from slowed the blaze’s movement to the east.

“The further this fire moves both east and west it will move into some fire scars from previous wildfires, so those areas aren’t going to have nearly the amount of fuels for the fire to work with,” said Andrew Madson, an information officer with Los Padres National Forest.

Among the over 100 structures at risk is former President Ronald Reagan’s 688-acre ranch Rancho del Cielo, his home for nearly twenty-five years and the Western White House for eight, which sits atop a ridge threatened by the advancing fire which is only 5% contained.

Jessica Jensen, an official of the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative organization that now operates the ranch told reporters that the blaze remained about a half-mile from the ranch on Thursday.

Courtesy of the California Highway Patrol

A spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol advised motorists “Hwy 101 is still closed between Hwy 1 and Winchester Canyon Road/Cathedral Oaks in both directions. Alternate routes are SR-154 and I-5. Expect heavier than normal traffic on both routes. HAZMAT or commercial vehicles over 65 feet are not permitted on SR-154 and should use I-5.”

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Santa Barbara

State of emergency in Santa Barbara as Alisal Fire now 14,500 acres

101 will remain closed from Winchester Canyon Road to Pacific Coast Highway State Route-1, while fire crews use it as a man-made fire break

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Graphic via KTLA 5

GOLETA – A CAL-FIRE spokesperson said that the Alisal fire has now burned over 14,500 acres North of Santa Barbara and is only approximately 5% contained as of Wednesday afternoon. The California Highway Patrol also said that a stretch of the 101 Freeway north of Santa Barbara remains closed as 1,300 firefighting personnel are battling the blaze.

The CHP said that the 101 will remain closed from Winchester Canyon Road to Pacific Coast Highway State Route-1, while fire crews use it as a man-made fire break. There was no estimated time for the freeway to reopen.

Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in coordination with Santa Barbara County officials. The governor also announced Wednesday that California has secured a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help ensure the availability of vital resources to suppress the Alisal Fire in Santa Barbara County.

To date, the Alisal Fire has burned 14,500 acres in and around Goleta and is 5 percent contained. Highway 101 has been partially closed and the fire is threatening structures and historic landmarks.

The Governor has also signed executive orders to support impacted communities and bolster wildfire response and recovery efforts. CAL FIRE and Cal OES personnel are responding in concert with other federal, state and local agencies to address emergency management and mutual aid needs for the fires.

KTLA 5 reported that thousands of people have been asked to evacuate the area as the fire continues to threaten structures.

Firefighters battle the Alisal Fire along the 101 freeway in Santa Barbara County
(Screenshot via KTLA 5 )

Evacuation orders remain in place for Refugio Canyon, Arroyo Hondo Canyon, and the area between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo.

Evacuation warnings are in place for the area east of El Capitan Beach State Park, west of Dos Pueblos Canyon Road, and south of West Camino Cielo.

Residents east of Calle Mariposa Reina, west of Arroyo Hondo, and south of W Camino Cielo were also warned to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

An evacuation center was set up at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, at 7266 Alameda Ave. Livestock could be taken to the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara. Animal owners who need assistance can call 805-681-4332.

Click here for an evacuation map, and visit readysbc.org for the latest evacuation and incident information.

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Santa Barbara

Alisal Fire now 8,000 acres, 101 freeway closed North of Santa Barbara

The CHP said 101 was was forced to close indefinitely between Pacific Coast Highway at Gaviota State Park and Cathedral Oaks Road in Goleta

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View of the Alisal Fire from the Reagan Ranch courtesy of Fleming Bertelsen U.S. National Forest Service

GOLETA – The California Highway Patrol confirmed that the Alisa Fire has closed the 101 freeway as the fire burns out of control. A spokesperson for the CHP said that the 101 was was forced to close indefinitely between Pacific Coast Highway at Gaviota State Park and Cathedral Oaks Road in Goleta. 

CAL FIRE said that the fire has spread to approximately 12 square miles by Tuesday afternoon and also forced evacuations for several lightly populated areas, including Refugio Canyon, Arroyo Hondo Canyon, and the area between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo. 

Evacuation warnings were also in place on either size of the mandatory evacuation zone. To the west a warning covered the area east of El Capitan Beach State Park, west of Dos Pueblos Canyon Road, and south of West Camino Cielo; the eastern warning zone was east of Calle Mariposa Reina, west of Arroyo Hondo, and south of West Camino Cielo.

High winds have also complicated fire-fighting efforts. On Monday high winds grounded all aircraft with only helicopters taking flight Tuesday.

wind advisory was in effect for most of Santa Barbara County until 9 p.m. Tuesday, with gusts expected to reach up to 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

During the afternoon, gusts of up to between 25 and 35 mph were recorded through the area.

The winds were expected to make driving difficult, and motorists were urged to use caution.

Smoke from the fire was visible across southern Santa Barbara County, including the Santa Ynez Valley and along the Gaviota coastline, officials told media outlets.

An evacuation center was set up at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, at 7266 Alameda Ave. Livestock could be taken to the Earn Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara. Animal owners who need assistance can call 805-681-4332.

Click here for an evacuation map, and visit readysbc.org for the latest evacuation information.

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