Major highways in Southern California remained closed for a third day on Wednesday (13/10) and evacuation orders were in place due to a blaze that grew bigger and bigger by strong winds. These winds also increase the risk of wildfires in much of the state.
Santa Barbara County officials set a state of emergency on Tuesday (12/10).
More than 200 firefighters are battling the Alisal Fire, which covers 54 square kilometers of coastal Santa Barbara County and is only five percent contained, fire officials said. Captain Daniel Bertucelli, public relations officer for the region’s Fire Department, said the combination of land and weather conditions created extremely difficult conditions for firefighters.
“With winds of 60-80 kilometers per hour, widespread drought and steep topography, this is a very difficult fire storm to contain, and to control,” said Bertucelli.
The fire raged on Monday (11/10) on a ridge and spread out to sea, forcing the closure of the only major highway on the coast. The fire blazed a few kilometers from Rancho del Cielo, which once owned Ronald and Nancy Reagan and was known as the White House in the West during his presidency. Firefighters protect the ranch where Reagan received world leaders. The Santa Barbara County Board of Trustees has asked Governor Gavin Newsom to establish a state of emergency that will open up the state’s resources to firefighters and refugees. [uh/ab]