Home » California wildfires are set by powerful winds, leaving only one person untouched. The Alisal Fire burns thousands upon thousands of acres near Santa Barbara.

California wildfires are set by powerful winds, leaving only one person untouched. The Alisal Fire burns thousands upon thousands of acres near Santa Barbara.

by Lester Blair
Strong winds fan California wildfires leaving one man burned; Alisal Fire near Santa Barbara burns thousands of acres
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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Destructive California wildfires driven by intense winds caused damage at two mobile home parks, destroying some trailers, and one person suffered burns, officials said.

The fires on Monday also toppled trees, whipped up blinding dust clouds and forced a utility to cut power to thousands of customers in an effort to prevent wildfires.

Although the winds eased Tuesday, about 30 structures were destroyed Monday afternoon when wind-driven flames roared through the Rancho Marina RV Park in Sacramento County, River Delta Fire District Deputy Chief Hugh Henderson told ABC10-TV. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. No injuries were reported.

In San Joaquin County, a man suffered burns and about five mobile homes were damaged by flames that raced through the Islander Mobile Home Park, Lathrop-Manteca Fire Chief Josh Capper told Fox40-TV.

By Tuesday morning, more than nine square miles had been burned by the Alisal Fire along the Santa Barbara County Coast. The fire was still uncontained.

On Tuesday, California was rocked by windy gusts. They caused havoc and fanned wildfires.

Due to dry and windy conditions, red flag warnings about dangerous fire conditions were in effect for mountains, valleys canyons, deserts, and other areas. Early Tuesday night was expected to see winds of up to 25 mph and gusts as high as 70 mph.

Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to about 21,000 customers in 20 central and Northern California counties to reduce the risk that power lines could be toppled, sparking wildfires.

On Monday, at least half a dozen fires broke out in the state. A fast-moving brush fire in the Los Padres National Forest in Santa Barbara County has reached nearly 2,000 acres and forced evacuations as of Monday night, according to fire officials. 

California’s Alisal Lake was the scene of the Alisal Fire. Los Padres National Forest officials reported that about 200 firemen and aerial units responded to the blaze. 

At 8:59 p.m. on Monday the fire was at 0% containment. Officials said that the fire could threaten up to 100 structures such as homes or ranches.

An evacuation order was ordered by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office for the Arroyo Hondo Canyon and Refugio Canyon areas, west of Goleta as a result of the wildfire, according to county officials. 

As of Monday afternoon, the fire was burning toward the Tajiguas Landfill with winds from the northwest at 30-35 mph. Andrew Madsen (a spokesperson for the national forest) said that no cause was found before 6:05 p.m.

Madsen said that the fire is now moving eastward toward Goleta via brush and vegetation, and being driven downhill by the wind. The area was described by him as ranchland. 

He said that at some point the flames will reach the scarred area from the 2015 Sherpa Fire.

Madsen explained, “It’s running out of ready fuel for burning.”   

According to him, the area that is currently on fire has not caught on since around 1955.  

The corridor was also closed to train traffic. Amtrak reports that the Pacific Surfliner, 777, was held up in Santa Barbara as a result of the fire.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection posted that a tree fell onto the power lines at Hearst Santa Simeon State park on the Central Coast. It caused small flames in the forest. Cal Fire stated that strong winds caused a tree to fall, causing three cars to be destroyed and a residence in El Granada (in San Mateo County). However, injuries weren’t reported.

Firefighters in an area where climate change has caused heat waves and droughts that have rendered forests and brush dry are faced with the challenge of dealing with windy weather. After destroying hundreds upon thousands of houses, fires that started in the late summer still burn.

KNP Complex fires that started in Sierra Nevada may have caused hundreds of massive sequoias to be destroyed in Sequoia National Park groves. It was also only 30% contained. The rolling rock caused a rollover that injured a volunteer firefighter who was working with the hand crew to tackle the blaze. Fire officials stated that the firefighter has been airlifted from the scene to hospital in stable condition.

Contributing to The Associated Press

Follow Brian J. Varela via Twitter @BrianVarela805



Source: USAToday.com

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