Skip to content
The Alisal fire in California has resulted in evacuations, road closures and Amtrak.  And the high winds make it hard to tame

The 13,400-acre blaze, burning 20 miles northwest of Santa Barbara in Refugio Canyon, was 5% contained on Tuesday night.

The blaze grew rapidly after igniting sparks on Monday, officials said. The cause is unknown.

“Significant fire activity continues with extremely low fuel humidity and blast-induced fires,” fire officials said in an update Tuesday on InciWeb, a clearinghouse for information on the fires. forest fires in the United States.

“The main constraint was the high winds which limited secure access to extinguish the fire and limited the use of planes to initiate and support the extinction of the fires,” the update said.

California has experienced a devastating wildfire season that has been exacerbated by the climate crisis, which has created ideal weather conditions for fires to start and spread. And given that nearly 90% of the state experiences conditions as harsh as extreme drought – the second most serious category according to the US Drought Monitor – putting out fires is all the more difficult.
Alisal’s fire threat led the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department to issue evacuation orders for areas between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo, as well as the canyons Arroyo Hondo and Refugio. Evacuation warnings have also been issued for other areas nearby.

More than 765 firefighters are battling the blaze as they attempt to mitigate the threat to Highway 101, which is closed in both north and south directions.

California is currently fighting 10 large active fires, the National Interagency Fire Center said. One of those fires, the KNP Complex Fire, has already destroyed many of the state’s iconic redwoods. The fire was 40% under control on Tuesday after having charred nearly 88,000 acres since September 10, according to InciWeb.

Meanwhile, 20 counties in California were warned by utility company PG&E that they could see a public safety power outage (PSPS) on Thursday in response to weather conditions that could fuel another wildfire. The counties under alert are: Butte, Colusa, Contra Costa, Glenn, Humboldt, Kern, Lake, Napa, Plumas, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba.

The Alisal fire in California has resulted in evacuations, road closures and Amtrak.  And the high winds make it hard to tame

Thousands under air quality monitoring

The Santa Barbara Public Health Department and air pollution control officials on Tuesday released air quality monitoring due to smoke from the Alisal fire.

“Smoke and ash from the Alisal fire could affect local air quality. Strong winds, locally and statewide, are also raising dust and ash into the air,” said Officials said in a press release, urging residents to be careful.

“This is a dynamic situation and local air quality conditions can change quickly.”

Smoke from the blaze can be seen throughout the southern part of the county, including the Santa Ynez Valley and along the Gaviota coast, fire officials said on InciWeb.

In particular, people with heart or lung problems, the elderly, pregnant people and children should not spend too much time outdoors and limit outdoor exercise to avoid inhaling smoke and particles. in the air, health officials said.