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Brush fire near Buellton shuts down northbound Hwy. 101

Caltrans closed northbound lanes of Highway 101 due to a fast-moving brush fire that broke out around 3 p.m. on Monday.

UPDATE 09/10/19 10:30 AM Firefighters kept the blaze at 200 acres overnight, and it's now about 30% contained, but structures are still threatened. One lane of Highway 101 remains closed, expected to reopen around 2 p.m Tuesday according to Caltrans. About 200 firefighters remain on the scene, and helicopters will be making water drops throughout the day Tuesday.

UPDATE 8:15 PM According to Santa Barbara County, "evacuation orders and warnings for the McMurray fire have been cancelled. Forward rate of the fire has stopped. PG&E anticipates returning power to customers by 10 pm." 

UPDATE 7 PM One lane of Highway 101 remains closed, but the CHP has opened the #1 lane for northbound traffic. The fire is 20% contained and remains at 200 acres. All evacuations will be lifted at 8 p.m.

Evacuation orders have been downgraded from mandatory to advised in the ranch country northeast of Buellton due to the McMurray Fire, which has burned 200 acres with the potential of more than tripling by Monday night. But more than 600 firefighters are on the scene, working on putting out a group of four separate vegetation fires.

Captain Daniel Bertucelli of Santa Barbara County Fire said the evacuated area is east of Highway 101 and west of Ballard Canyon Road. All northbound lanes of Highway 101 are closed between Highway 246 and Highway 154 at this hour—from Buellton to Los Olivos.

Two animal evacuation shelters are now open for the McMurray Fire. Large animals can be taken to the Elks Unocal event center at 4040 US 101. Small animals are going to the Santa Maria Animal Center at 548 W. Foster Road in Santa Maria. The Animal Services Hotline is 805-681-4332.