Fast-growing California wildfire shuts major highway and triggers evacuations

A wildfire north of Santa Barbara exploded in size triggering evacuation orders and the closure of a major Central California highway on Monday.

The big picture: The uncontained Alisal Fire ignited near the Alisal Reservoir on Monday afternoon and grew to 2,000 acres by night-time as powerful 30-35 mph winds with gusts up to 70 mph propelled the blaze across 2,000 acres, crossing Highway 101 to Tajiguas Beach, according to Inciweb.

The highway was shut near Santa Barbara and evacuation orders that were initially issued for nearby communities were expanded to include El Capitan State Park and the El Capitan Campground later in the evening, per Inciweb. 

Threat level: Los Padres National Forest spokesperson Andrew Madsen told the Los Angeles Times that in addition to the winds, firefighters were concerned Madsen about fuel in the region as the last time the area burned as it’s believed the last time the area was burned by fire was in 1955.

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