Major Southern California highway closed by wind-whipped wildfire

14 October 2021

In this photo provided by Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the Alisal Fire continues to burn the dry vegetation in Refugio Canyon on Tuesday morning, Oct. 12, 2021, in Santa Barbara County, Calif. (Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire via AP)

SOLVANG — A major Southern California highway remained closed late Tuesday and evacuation orders were in place from a growing blaze driven by intense winds that raised the risk of wildfires in much of the state.

More than 200 firefighters battled the Alisal fire, which covered 21 square miles (54 square kilometers) along coastal Santa Barbara County and was only 5% contained, county fire officials said.

The fire erupted Monday on a ridge and swept toward the ocean, forcing the closure of U.S. 101, the only major highway on that section of the coast. Evacuation orders and warnings were in place for ranches and several rural communities of the lightly populated region.

While the area was lightly populated, the blaze threatened more than 100 homes, ranches and other buildings, fire officials said.

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