Southern California’s Alisal Fire closed a major highway Wednesday and burned 15,442 acres northwest of Santa Barbara, California, in two days.
Officials say strong winds of up to miles0 miles per hour are setting fires, threatening isolated homes and farms in the area. According to Calfire, the Alisal fire started Monday and the cause is under investigation. Wednesday’s control was 5%.
Highway 101 between Highway 1 and Winchester Canyon Road / Cathedral Oaks was closed on both sides as the fire reached the highway and disrupted Pacific Railroad and Amtrak services. It is the only major highway in that part of the coast.
The closure has caused drivers to take a more uncertain route, and the highway may remain closed until the weekend while workers work on fire control, officials said. In a briefing Wednesday, officials said reopening the incident was a priority for commanders.
More than 100 homes and other installations are at risk, officials said. The latest removal order and removal warning was issued Tuesday.
Threats have also been made against the threatened Ancho del Silo, formerly owned by Ronald and Nancy Reagan and once known as the Western White House. Dau Dau is about half a mile from the property, but that part of the fire is not as active as the others, Jessica Jensen, vice president and chief of staff of the Young America Foundation, who now runs the farm, told the Associated Press.
“The farm itself is still in a very defensive position,” he said.
The Santa Barbara area is expected to see the infamous sunrise winds on Wednesday evening, which occur in the Santa Inez Mountains and typically include an increase in temperature and a decrease in humidity. In the past, winds have caused wildfires in the region.
California Fire:People have been burned in wildfires in northern California; Alisal fire brigade is evacuating
The National Weather Service has issued a wind forecast for the south coast and mountains of Santa Barbara since Thursday, saying “there is a possibility of gusts of up to 50 miles per hour.”
Santa Barbara County Fire residents are being told not to use drones over flames, following reports that drones are interfering with firefighting equipment.
Officials said airborne firefighters were extinguishing the blaze when it blew.
The National Inter-Agency Fire Center said 2,043,220 acres are currently burning across 10 incidents in California.
Contributed by: Associated Press