Hundreds of firefighters battle Alisal Fire from ground, air
Wind continues to bog down air efforts
Tripling in size overnight to reach 6,000 acres, the fast-moving brush fire in the Los Padres National Forest in Santa Barbara County was also 0% contained as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to fire officials.
Pushed by continued gusty winds, the Alisal Fire threatened up to 150 structures and forced evacuations in the Goleta area. An estimated 600 firefighters had joined the battle by Tuesday morning.
Santa Barbara City Fire Chief Chris Mailes said Tuesday's winds ranged between 16 and 34 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph, preventing firefighters from using fixed-wing aircrafts like air tankers to combat the blaze.
The fire started between 2:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Monday in a remote area near Alisal Lake. The blaze was not near populated areas aside from a few ranches and homes, fire officials said. One outbuilding has been damaged as a result of the fire as of Tuesday.
On Monday, an evacuation order was ordered by the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office for the Arroyo Hondo Canyon and Refugio Canyon areas, west of Goleta as a result of the wildfire, according to county officials.
An evacuation point has been established at the Dos Pueblos High School upper parking lot at 7266 Alameda Ave., Goleta.
Shortly before 7:30 p.m., Santa Barbara County issued an evacuation warning for the area east of El Capitan Beach State Park, west of Dos Pueblos Canyon Road, and south of West Camino Cielo.
Residents in those areas were cautioned to be prepared to leave. The county's evacuation map and other information can be found at http://ReadySBC.org.
On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District issued an air quality watch for Santa Barbara County due to smoke from the fire.
On Monday afternoon, the fire burned toward the Tajiguas Landfill with winds from the northwest at 30-35 mph.
The fire was moving east toward Goleta through brush and vegetation and being pushed by the wind downhill, Madsen said. He described the area as ranchland.
The area burning in the initial phase of the fire Monday hadn't caught fire since about 1955, he added. At some point, the blaze is expected to reach the burn scar from 2016 Sherpa Fire, he noted.
"It's going to run out of ready fuel to burn, and that's always a good place to try to go at it directly," Madsen said.
Highway 101, between Highway 1 and Winchester Canyon Road in both directions, had been closed Monday afternoon as the fire approached the freeway, according to Santa Barbara County officials. California Highway Patrol in the area advised drivers to seek alternates routes, including Interstate 5.
Train traffic through the corridor has also been halted or routes have been altered. Train 774, which typically originates in San Luis Obispo, will originate in Goleta due to fire activity, Amtrak tweeted Tuesday.
Staff writer Jeremy Childs contributed to this report.
Brian J. Varela covers Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Camarillo. He can be reached at email@example.com or 805-477-8014. You can also find him on Twitter @BrianVarela805.