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Alisal Fire grows to 14,500 acres; Drop in wind allows firefighters to launch aerial attack on blaze

The Alisal wildfire continues to force the closure of Highway 101 from just west of Goleta to Highway 1.

Highway 101 shutdown continues.

The Alisal Fire has now charred more than 14,500 acres of land in Santa Barbara County.

The fire is burning on the Gaviota Coast. Firefighters have their hands full because there are two fronts, with the fire pushing west and east along the coastline.

About 100 structures are threatened, but so far the only building lost was an old abandoned house. The area is sparsely populated, with scattered ranch and canyon homes. Highway 101 remains closed from Winchester Canyon, just west of Goleta to Highway 1.

There is some good news. Firefighters now have 5% containment, and with the wind finally easing, they’ve been able to ramp up the aerial battle against the blaze with helicopters and air tankers. Nearly 800 firefighters are involved in battling the blaze.

The blaze started Monday afternoon in the Santa Ynez Mountains, with wind pushing the fire down to the coast. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Santa Barbara County Supervisors declared a state of local emergency Tuesday, which sets the stage for additional resources to be made available for firefighting and recovery efforts.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.