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KCBX News Update: Alisal Fire now officially out, SB County mask mandate extended and Omicron detected in LA County

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The Alisal Fire has been declared officially out.

Alisal Fire in Santa Barbara County now officially out

Los Padres National Forest officials say the Alisal Fire in Santa Barbara County is now officially out after no flames, smoke or hot spots have been detected for more than 30 days.

The fire started on October 11 and burned 16,970 acres before full containment on November 20.

It closed Highway 101 for three days and prompted evacuations for some Santa Barbara County residents, and it also led Pacific Gas & Electric to institute public safety power shutoffs in San Luis Obispo County.

Fire crews will continue to do repair work on the burn area for the next 30 days, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Indoor mask mandate extended in Santa Barbara County 

Santa Barbara County health officials have extended the indoor mask mandate there amid news of the Omicron variant.

The variant hasn’t been detected in Santa Barbara County or anywhere else on the Central Coast yet, but “substantial” transmission levels in the county continue to warrant the mandate, according to health officials.

Everyone in the county must wear masks indoors in public places regardless of vaccination status.

That order is currently in effect until January 2 until it is extended or rescinded.

More information on Santa Barbara County’s mandate is available at publichealthsbc.org.

LA County sees first Omicron case

The Omicron variant has been detected in Los Angeles County.

L.A. County officials announced the confirmed case on Thursday, saying that the person in question returned to L.A. County after travel to South Africa on Nov. 22.

In a press release, county officials said: "The individual, who is a fully vaccinated adult and a Los Angeles County resident, is self-isolating, and their symptoms are improving without medical care.”

San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County and Monterey County still have not had any confirmed cases of the Omicron variant.

Benjamin Purper was News Director of KCBX from May of 2021 to September of 2023. He came from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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