By Raiza Giorgi
A vegetation fire that broke out Monday afternoon has now reached more than 6,000 burned and still zero percent containment as of 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to fire officials.
The #AlisalFire which was originally reported to being just above Alisal reservoir, actually began at the top of the Santa Ynez Mountains on the south side of the ridge. With gusty winds sustained at 35 miles per hour and gusting to over 70 miles per hour, and in mountainous terrain not easily accessible, firefighters are having a tough battle ahead. This area also hasn’t burned since the 1950’s during the Refugio Fire of 1955, according to the Fire Safe Council.
Highway 101 remains closed as of Tuesday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol. The fire did reach the highway and jumped down to the beach.
“We anticipate heavy traffic on SR 154 so please give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Tractor trailer/big rigs, that exceed 65 feet are not allowed SR-154, please use I-5. No HAZMAT vehicles allowed on SR 154 as well,” CHP officials Tweeted out.
There were 100 to 120 structures threatened by the blaze as of Tuesday morning and one outbuilding was reported destroyed overnight.
There are currently more than 600 fire personnel assigned to this incident.
Evacuation orders are in effect for residents in the Refugio Canyon, including Arroyo Hondo, Tajiguas and Arroyo Quemada. The evacuation order has expanded to include El Capitan State Park and the El Capitan Campground.
A temporary evacuation center was set up at the parking lot of Dos Pueblos High School at 7266 Alameda Avenue in Goleta. As many as 100 structures, including ranches and homes, are threatened. More information at: https://readysbc.org/2021/10/11/evacuation-warning-alisal-fire-oct-11/.
Santa Barbara County Animal Services has been activated to assist with animal evacuations. Livestock can be taken to the Earl Warren Showgrounds. Animal owners should call 805-681-4332 if assistance is needed to evacuate animals.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District issued an Air Quality Watch for Santa Barbara County, including the Channel Islands. Smoke and ash from the Alisal Fire could affect local air quality. Strong winds, locally and across the state, are also stirring up dust and ash into the air. This is a dynamic situation, and local air quality conditions can change quickly. All Santa Barbara County residents are encouraged to stay alert to local conditions by visiting www.ourair.org/todays-air-quality or fire.airnow.gov.