Photos: ‘Rapid’ Alisal Wildfire Just Jumped a 4-Lane Highway in California

by Jon D. B.
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Wildfires continue to ravage California, with the Alisal Fire jumping all 4 lanes of Highway 101 on Monday as it spreads rapidly.

As of October 13, the Alisal Fire has burned over 13,400 acres. Wednesday sees the blaze at only 5% containment, and no easy end is in sight.

Late Monday, Alisal would swell in size, jumping the full 4 lanes of Highway 101. This allowed the wildfire to spread to Tajugas Beach, where it currently burns.

The ignition source of Alisal is unknown, but its origins lie near the Alisal Reservoir. Access to critical dry brush and natural fuels feed the fire, with high winds creating a “rapid” spread.

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Firefighters battle the Alisal fire along the 101 Freeway near Goleta on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (Luis Sinco, also Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Alisal Fire has been raging since early Monday, and is “burning in dense chaparral and grass and is being pushed by strong winds growing at a rapid rate of speed,” reports InciWeb.

“Fire behavior is extreme with wind driven runs, uphill runs and backing,” the incident information system continues. “Significant fire activity continues with critically low fuel moisture and wind driven fire runs.”

Evacuation orders would take place on Tuesday in Arroyo Hondo Canyon, Refugio Canyon and El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo as a result. Santa Barbara County Animal Services is also on hand to assist residents with animal evacuations, The Hill reports.

Staggering 811 Firefighters Continue to Battle Alisal Wildfire

Firefighters battle the Alisal fire along the 101 Freeway near Goleta on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (Luis Sinco, also Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

According to InciWeb, a remarkable 811 firefighters continue to battle Alisal Fire.

“The overall strategy is to engage firefighters to minimize the fire size, eliminate the fire threat to CA Highway 101 (to open both north and south bound lanes), protect residence and infrastructure, historic and cultural resource threats in the area,” the information outlet adds.

They cite the main “constraint” for Alisal “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.”

Thankfully, “Firefighters have been able to engage along West Camino Cielo on the north side of the fire and continue to establish anchor points with direct attack, continue structure protection, and mop up,” InciWeb continues.

Yet there is currently no end in sight. “Extreme, wind driven runs, uphill runs, backing and group torching” continue to fuel the wildfire. On Wednesday, “Significant fire activity continues with critically low fuel moisture and wind driven fire runs.”

Record Breaking California Blazes Continue

A man uses a garden hose to water down dry vegetation as the Alisal fire also burns at the edges of a ranch near Goleta on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Meteorologists expect Southwest winds are likely to continue developing and fuel the fire. Currently, “Smoke is visible throughout southern Santa Barbara County… Including the Santa Ynez Valley and along the Gaviota coastline” from the wildfire.

Tragically, Alisal Fire is the latest in another record-breaking year of wildfires for California. This year’s Dixie Fire was the second-largest in the state’s history, second only to the August Complex Wildfires. Congruently, the world-famous giants of Sequoia National Park would also suffer severe losses at the flames of blazing fires.

Outsider.com