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Alisal Fire in Santa Barbara County grows to 14,500 acres; parts of Highway 101 remain closed

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Mike Eliason
/
Santa Barbara County Fire Department

The Alisal Fire has grown to around 14,500 acres in size, according to an update from Santa Barbara County Fire on Wednesday morning.

Captain Daniel Bertucelli, a spokesperson for Santa Barbara County Fire, said that containment stands at 5%.

1200 firefighters are currently battling the blaze, alongside 5 tanker trucks and 6 helicopters.

The Alisal Fire is burning on both sides of the Santa Ynez Mountains and expanding rapidly. A combination of dense chaparral and strong winds has fed the fire’s growth, and aircraft were initially prevented from fighting the fire due to the wind.

However, aircraft are now engaging the fire, which is threatening more than 100 local ranches, houses and other structures.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency on Tuesday, and asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a statewide emergency.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized the use of federal funds in combating the Alisal Fire.

According to FEMA, those federal funds can include expenses for "field camps, equipment use, materials, supplies and mobilization, and demobilization activities attributed to fighting the fire."

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 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.
Brett Vollrath is a KCBX intern and a journalism major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.