UPDATE: Alisal Fire in SB County jumps to 14,500 acres Wednesday morning

10 12 fire map

10 12 21 Alisal FIre 2

Image by Google Maps

10 12 21 Alisal Fire

Photos by U.S. Forest Service

Alisal Fire in Santa Barbara County broke out about 2:30 p.m. Oct. 11.


A fire that broke out near the Alisal Reservoir in Santa Barbara County about 2:30 p.m. Oct. 11 exploded to a reported 14,500 acres Wednesday morning, closing Highway 101 between Highway 1 and Winchester Canyon Road/Cathedral Oaks in both directions, and spurring evacuations. It was reported to be 5% contained.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors ratified a local emergency at its Oct. 12 meeting, after it was declared by the Santa Barbara County executive officer.

Declaring a state of emergency allows county resources to be deployed and helps facilitate state and federal reimbursement for emergency response.

The fire reportedly jumped Refugio Road on Oct. 12, threatening several nearby ranches and structures. Persistent winds continued to fan the Alisal Fire and by 3 p.m. Oct. 12, fire bands landing in Las Flores Canyon, were threatening the Exxon refinery down below. According to the ExxonMobil website, the facility has been closed for several years.

As of 4:27 p.m., Highway 101 remained closed between Highway 1 near Lompoc and Winchester Canyon Road in Goleta.

Priorities for Santa Barbara County Fire remain structure defense, preimeter control, reopening of Highway 101, and railroad. 

 Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department issued an Evacuation Order on Monday for the following areas, urging people there to “leave the area immediately":

— Arroyo Hondo Canyon and Refugio Canyon.

— Area between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo.

It issued an Evacuation Warning for the area east of El Capitan Beach State Park, west of Dos Pueblos Canyon Road, and south of West Camino Cielo, advising people in the area to “be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.”

An ADDITIONAL Evacuation Warning was issued at 3:15 p.m. Oct. 12 for the area east of Calle Mariposa Reina, west of Arroyo Hondo, and south of West Camino Cielo, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

 An interactive evacuation map is available for the #AlisalFire at People can enter their address at the top right field to determine if their area is under an Evacuation Order.

The American Red Cross is supporting evacuees with sheltering needs. The Evacuation Center at Dos Pueblos High School upper parking lot at 7266 Alameda Ave, Goleta, is on standby. Evacuees needing assistance can contact the American Red Cross at 833-583-3111.

The Santa Barbara County emergency website to check on fire updates is

Additional hourly updates are being provided by the Santa Barbara Independent at:

Fire updates can also be found at .

According to the wildfire Incident Information System website early Tuesday at about 9:30 p.m.:

The fire is burning 20 miles northwest of Santa Barbara within Refugio Canyon in dense chaparral and "grass and is being pushed by strong winds and growing at a rapid rate of speed.

"Fire behavoir is etreme with wind-driven runs, uphill runs and backing. Significant fire activity continues with critically low fuel moisture and wind-driven fire runs.Sundowner winds remain gusty from the northwest to north over the fire area. Localized northeast winds are being observed on the eastern side of the fire.

"Any east wind is likely being driven by the fire itself and will be very difficult to predict. Later this evening, winds will likely become more northeasterly to easterly, then weaken overnight. Southwest winds are likely to develop Wednesday morning, which may turn southeasterly in the early afternoon, before becoming northwesterly as the Sundowners strengthen Wednesday evening. 

"Smoke is visible throughout southern Santa Barbara County including the Santa Ynez Valley and along the Gaviota coastline. The U.S. Forest Service is the lead agency responding to the fire with assistance from Santa Barbara County Fire. More than 765 firefighters are on-site. The overall strategy is to engage firefighters to minimize the fire size, eliminate the fire threat to Highway 101 (to open both north and southbound lanes), protect residence and infrastructure, historic and cultural resource threats in the area.

"The main constraint has been heavy winds that have limited safe access to suppress the fire and limited the use of aircraft to engage and support fire suppression. Firefighters have been able to engage along the West Camino Cielo on the north side of the fire."

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and Air Pollution Control District issued an Air Quality Watch for Santa Barbara County, including the Channel Islands. Smoke and ash from the Alisal Fire could affect local air quality. Strong winds, locally and across the state, are also stirring up dust and ash into the air. This is a dynamic situation, and local air quality conditions can change quickly. All Santa Barbara County residents are encouraged to stay alert to local conditions by visiting or




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