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California highway closed due to massive fire

The Alisal fire, near Santa Barbara in California, threatens many structures and requires the intervention of nearly 600 firefighters.

The Alisal fire continues to engulf southern California, leading to evacuations and mobilizing hundreds of firefighters. The blaze  began in the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 11 near the Alisal Reservoir and now covers around 8,000 acres (3,237 hectares), according to fire officials. The flames threaten at least 100 structures, authorities said.

“The fire is driven by strong winds and is growing at a rapid rate,” said a report on InciWeb , a US forest fire clearinghouse , cited by  CNN . The strong gusts prevented the deployment of the planes intended to fight against the flames . 

The fire resulted in the closure of part of the 101 freeway , according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. At least 600 firefighters are battling the blaze.

The Alisal fire comes as  California  is hit by a devastating fire season , including 10 active major fires. The most important is the enormous  Dixie Fire , which has consumed nearly a million hectares since its outbreak on July 13.

California firefighters were fighting a blaze on Wednesday that had already devastated nearly 55 km2 and forced the authorities to give the order to evacuate nearby areas since its start on Monday. The “Alisal Fire” devastates a dry and bushy canyon about thirty kilometers northwest of the coastal town of Santa Barbara, in the west of the country, and is only 5% contained, according to the service. of the Forests of the United States.

More than 765 firefighters are trying to put out the fire, the latest in an already devastating fire season. “The main obstacle was the strong winds which limited safe access to extinguish the fire and the use of planes to support the extinction of the fire,” according to an incident report.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff has ordered evacuations for a 10 mile stretch, and a portion of famous Highway 101, which runs along the Pacific coast, had to be cut.

Evacuation orders were expanded on Tuesday for a growing wildfire driven by intense winds that has shut down a key southern California highway for more than a day.

At least 200 firefighters battled the Alisal fire, which had scorched 8,000 acres (12.5 sq miles) along coastal Santa Barbara county and remained completely uncontained.

The fire erupted on Monday on a ridge and blasted toward the ocean, forcing closure of US 101, the only major highway on that section of the coast.

“There’s a lot of dead, decadent, receptive fuel beds in the area where this fire started,” said Andrew Madsen, a public information officer with Los Padres national forest, who noted the area where the fire started had not burned in decades. Evacuation orders have been issued for residents in Refugio Canyon and the El Capitan state park and El Capitan campground are closed, while hundreds of homes, ranches and other structures remain under threat.

Strong winds, with gusts reaching up to 70mph, drove the fire down to the ocean and prevented aircraft from battling the blaze from above, officials said.

“It’s been a hectic fire season,” Madsen said. Firefighters have worked tirelessly this year, deployed on weeks-long assignments peppered with only a few days of rest. “But the good news is a lot of the fires up north are being contained,” he added, “so they have shed resources so they have been available to come assist on this fire.”

In northern California, fire crews increased containment of a blaze that destroyed 25 mobile homes, 16 RVs and a park building at the Rancho Marina RV park in Sacramento county. At least 20 structures were still threatened, according to the River Delta fire district.

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