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With wind easing, firefighters go on offensive against massive Alisal wildfire in Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo by Mike Eliason
A DC-10 air tanker drops fire retardant near the Las Flores oil facility on the Gaviota Coast, to protect it from the Alisal wildfire.

Firefighters are hoping to have full containment by October 25th

Firefighters battling the Alisal Wildfire in Santa Barbara County got a big break Thursday, with the wind dropping to little more than a light breeze for the first time since the blaze started Monday.

Air tankers and helicopters hit the fire hard.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo by Mike Eliason
A helicopter drop on the Alisal fire Thursday afternoon.

It’s burned more than 16,800 acres of land, and is 5% contained.

Highway 101 remains closed from just west of Goleta to Highway 1. Firefighters say reopening the highway, as well as the rail line along the coast are among the top priorities. Crews have been busy knocking down hot spots along the highway.

The fire pushed west overnight Wednesday along the coast, leading to an evacuation order for Gaviota and a warning for Hollister Ranch.

About 100 homes are considered to be at risk, but so far only an abandoned house and a mobile home have been destroyed.

Firefighters have announced a target date for containment. They hope to have it fully contained by October 25th.

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.