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Alisal fire approaches Reagan’s “Western White House” in California: NPR


Firefighters put out the flames on Tuesday afternoon that spotted past the fire front along Southbound Highway 101 at Vista Point, north of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, California.

Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department / AP


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Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department / AP

Alisal fire approaches Reagan’s “Western White House” in California: NPR

Firefighters put out the flames on Tuesday afternoon that spotted past the fire front along Southbound Highway 101 at Vista Point, north of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, California.

Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department / AP

SOLVANG, Calif .– A major coastal highway remained closed on Wednesday and evacuation orders were in place following a growing fire caused by intense winds that have increased the risk of wildfires across much of the region. California.

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

The blaze was burning near Rancho del Cielo, which was once owned by Ronald and Nancy Reagan and was known as the White House of the West during his presidency. Fire crews were protecting the ranch where Reagan housed the world leaders.

The blaze erupted on a ridge on Monday and swept toward the ocean, forcing the closure of US 101, the only major highway on this section of the coast. Evacuation orders and warnings were in place for the ranches and several rural communities.

While the area was sparsely populated, the blaze threatened more than 100 homes, ranches and other buildings, firefighters said.

“The fire is burning in a dense chaparral and is driven by strong winds and is developing at a rapid rate,” an update on the blaze said on Tuesday, when the gusts reached 70 mph (113 km / h) in some regions.

The blaze was burning near Rancho del Cielo, which was once owned by Ronald and Nancy Reagan and was known as the White House of the West during his presidency. Fire crews were protecting the ranch where Reagan housed the world leaders.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency on Tuesday and called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency to free up more state resources for firefighters and evacuees.

In northern California, fire crews have tightened containment for a blaze that destroyed 25 mobile homes, 16 RVs and a park at Rancho Marina RV Park in Sacramento County.

No injuries were reported, and the cause remains under investigation.

In southern San Joaquin County, a man suffered severe third-degree burns over most of his body and about five mobile homes were damaged by the flames that swept through the Islander Mobile Home Park, Fox told Fox40- TV Lathrop-Manteca Fire Chief Josh Capper. .

Powerful gusts swept through the state on Monday, toppling trees and raising blinding clouds of dust. In anticipation of the wind event, the Pacific Gas & Electric utility cut power Monday to about 24,000 customers in targeted areas in 23 counties to prevent fires from starting if gusts damaged electrical equipment.

The windy weather then subsided somewhat and power was restored on Tuesday, but red flag warnings for extreme fire danger will return on Thursday, and PG&E said it may have to cut power at around 29,000 customers in 19 counties Thursday due to the renewed threat.

PG&E equipment was blamed for a fire in 2018 that wiped out much of the town of Paradise in Butte County. The company filed for bankruptcy and pleaded guilty to 84 counts of manslaughter. PG&E also faces criminal charges for fires caused by its unraveling equipment, including manslaughter counts after a fire near Redding last year killed four people.

Windy weather is a nightmare for firefighters in a state where heat waves and historic drought linked to climate change have dried up forests and brush. The fires that started in late summer are still burning after destroying hundreds of homes.