WeatherFire Watch


UPDATE: Alisal Fire grows to 14,500 acres, 5% containment

The fire continues to burn "bone dry" chaparral and brush.
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Posted at 3:06 PM, Oct 12, 2021

This story was last updated at 7:40 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13. For the latest updates on the fire, click here.

UPDATE (7:40 A.M.) - Growing to 14,500-acre burn overnight, hopes are high that the fire can be reigned in now that the heavy winds are backing off.

Containment is still 5%, and 1,200 fire personnel are on sight.

The main focus is keeping the building safe, maintaining the blaze border, getting Hwy 101 and railroads back in use.

A press conference is scheduled for later today for more information.

UPDATE (6:50 p.m.) - Santa Barbara County on Tuesday proclaimed a local emergency due to the Alisal Fire.

County officials explain that proclaiming a local state of emergency is an essential step for local governments dealing with significant incidents. It ensures that all county resources are available for the fire control efforts and supporting activities. It also helps facilitate state and federal reimbursement for emergency response.

In addition, Santa Barbara County Fire has reportedly requested assistance through the Federal Management Assistance Grant program.

UPDATE (6:35 p.m.) - Fire officials say the Alisal Fire has grown to 13,400 acres and is 5% contained as of early Tuesday evening.

They say crews will continue to work overnight providing structure protection, strengthening control lines and building new ones.

UPDATE (4:59 p.m.) - Air tankers have begun to drop loads on the Alisal Fire, as crews continue to fight the fire from the ground and the air.

The fire is is pushing west, to an area about 2 or 3 miles from Gaviota, fire officials say.

Captain Daniel Bertucelli told KSBY that winds in the area have diminished, allowing firefighters to work from higher elevations than before.

He said that four or five air tankers, in addition to helicopters, are fighting the fire.

"They'll continue flying until the sun goes down, or as long as conditions remain safe," Bertucelli said.

About 600 personnel are fighting the fire.
UPDATE (3:42 p.m.) - A new evacuation warning has been issued for the area east of Calle Mariposa Reina, west of Arroyo Hondo and south of W. Camino Cielo, the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office says.

Residents of the area should be prepared to leave.

The latest evacuation information can be found here.
UPDATE (3:18 p.m.) - A fixed wing air tanker took off from Santa Maria Airport and circled over the west and north areas of the fire, Mike Eliason, Public Information Officer with Santa Barbara County Fire, told KSBY.

Officials were unable to confirm whether wind conditions allowed the pilot to make a drop. The tanker has left the area of the fire.

(3:06 p.m.) - Within 24 hours since it first broke out, the Alisal Fire has burned 8,000 acres in Santa Barbara County, fire officials reported Tuesday afternoon. Containment of the wildfire remains at 0%.

Evacuation orders remain in effect throughout the area.

In a tweet, Santa Barbara County fire officials said that the fire was sending flames ahead of the fire's front at Vista Point, north of Refugio State Beach.

The fire is burning dense chaparral, brush and grass, fuels that one fire official called "bone dry vegetation."

Captain Daniel Bertucelli, Public Information Officer for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, said that fire crews are working to make the most of current weather conditions.

"Today's a day where we're going to take advantage of opportunities," Bertucelli said. "When the winds start to diminish later this afternoon, we will have ground resources start utilizing safe anchor points and start putting in hoseline."

Bertucelli says that firefighters have dozers and hand crews in place. Helicopters are currently fighting the fire. Fire officials plan to send fixed wing air tankers to contain the flames as soon as wind conditions allow.

"Hopefully, we can get some of those containment numbers up," Bertucelli told KSBY.

All lanes of Hwy 101, from Las Cruces to Winchester Canyon and Cathedral Oaks Rds. in Goleta, remain closed. Bertucelli said that reopening the highway is one of the highest priorities for officials, as soon as it is safe to do so.

"We are working in conjunction with CHP in order to determine when that opportunity comes up," he said.

Bertucelli says that fire crews will continue to adjust and fight the fire until it is contained.

"We're going to continue to attack this fire as we do every fire," he said. "And we're going to stay until it's out. We're going to stay until it's over. And we're not going to leave until we have the job done."

The fire has impacted the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train schedules. 14 people spent the night at an evacuation center after their southbound train was halted by the fire, officials say, and trains are not running through the closed area.

A temporary evacuation area has been set up at the Dos Pueblos High School upper parking lot, at 7266 Alameda Ave. in Goleta.

Evacuees caring for livestock can take their animals to the Earl Warren Showgrounds, at 3400 Calle Real in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara County residents can text their zip code to 888777 for emergency text alerts. The most up-to-date evacuation information is available on