SYV Star Staff Report
The Alamo fire continues to grow in significant size as it is now burning more than 6,000 acres and only 10 percent contained and the hot weather with wind expected in the forecast for today isn’t helping firefighters.
Morning winds were from the north and north east in the morning hours, but fire weather forecasters were anticipating a shift more to the west in the afternoon, which would push flames toward Tepusquet Canyon, Zaniboni said.
The fire started on July 7 near the Twitchell Reservoir, and prompted the closure of Highway 166, according to Cal Fire San Luis Obispo County.
The fire then jumped to the south side of Highway 166, which forced Caltrans crews to close the roadway completely between U.S. Highway 101 (Santa Maria) and Tepusquet Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Highway 166 links the Central Coast and the Cuyama Valley.
Updates from fire officials Saturday mid-morning showed a map where the fire had jumped containment lines, crossed Oak Creek and is now threatening more than 100 homes in the Tepesquet area.
As the fire grew to more than 3,400 acres on Friday afternoon it caused evacuation warnings and then mandatory evacuations for folks living in the Tepqesquet Canyon area. Those evacuation mandates are now including Blazing Saddle Drive to Santa Maria Mesa Road, Blazing Saddle Drive and White Rock Lane, plus Colson Canyon, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Five helicopters and four fixed-wing aircraft were assigned to the blaze along with more than 1,000 firefighters that includes 10 hand crews. On order are four dozer teams, five type III engines and five water tankers.
The American Red Cross opened an evacuation center at the Minami Community Center at 600 W. Enos Drive in Santa Maria.
The Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center at 4040 Highway 101 was designated as the shelter for evacuated large animals, while the Santa Maria Animal Shelter, 548 W. Foster Road, was available to house small animals, Santa Barbara County Animal Services officials announced.
Additionally, evacuated animals previously registered for the Santa Barbara County Fair Junior Livestock Auction next week were allowed to take them to the fairgrounds in Santa Maria on Friday, two days earlier than the planned arrival.
No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire remained under investigation.