The Alisal fire started Monday afternoon near the Alisal Reservoir in Southern California’s Santa Ynez mountains, forcing a shutdown of part of a major highway. Fortunately, firefighters have been able to gain control of the blaze, and the road is open again.
Strong northwest winds pushed the fire south over the summit toward the Tajiguas Landfill and crossed U.S. Highway 101 (US-101) to Tajiguas Beach. As of Thursday morning, the fire had grown to approximately 16,900 acres with 41% containment. The fire is burning 20 miles northwest of Santa Barbara within Refugio Canyon.
According to the California Highway Patrol Highway, US-101 was reopened in both directions Wednesday night where it had been closed from Goleta to California Route 1 in Las Cruces. This is a stretch of about 25 miles.
The railway parallel to US-101 has also reopened in both directions and all services are expected to return to normal. This rail is used by Amtrak and Union Pacific Railroad.
Long-term drought conditions persist in the Alisal fire area, and extremely low humidity will linger through the weekend. However, winds have died down, leading to more favorable conditions for crews to make more progress attacking the fire on the ground and from the air.
However, strong gusts will slam the Los Angeles metropolitan area, about 115 southeast of the Alisal fire. This will elevate the risk for new fires sparking and spreading quickly, as well as increasing the odds for tractor-trailer rollovers.
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