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Alisal Fire in California shuts down Highway 101, prompts evacuations in Santa Barbara County


(LOS ANGELES) — Wildfires wreaking havoc in several West Coast regions are expected to burn throughout the night as dangerous conditions may further increase their spread.

The Alisal Fire in Southern California had exploded to about 13,400 acres Tuesday evening after sparking near the Alisal Reservoir on Monday around 2:30 p.m. It remains just 5% contained and 50 mph gusts were expected in the region overnight, according to the National Weather Service.

Strong northwest winds pushed the fire south of the summit, crossing Highway 101 to Tajiguas Beach, according to fire officials. The origin of the blaze is not yet known.

The fire prompted evacuations in Santa Barbara County and the closure of Highway 101 from Las Cruces to Goleta. Closures of the 101, the only major highway in the region, have caused congestion on the nearby State Road 154 and Interstate 5, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Videos posted to social media show thick plumes of smoke hanging over roadways in Gaviota, California, and near Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County.

While winds died down Tuesday, red flag warnings remained in effect in Northern California, where wildfires have destroyed dozens of trailers at mobile home parks in Sacramento County and San Joaquin County.

The region remains a tinderbox following decades of drought, exacerbated by climate change.

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