KNP Complex fire that may have burned

CALIFORNIA — A wildfire sparked by powerful, dry winds had hundreds of firefighters working to quell towering flames, which jumped four lanes of Highway 101 on the Central Coast early Tuesday.

The Alisal Fire erupted rapidly on Monday around 2:30 p.m. near the Alisal Reservoir and had already shut down a major highway for surrounding communities. Strong winds pushed the flames over Highway 101 near Refugio State Beach — about 22 miles from Santa Barbara. The fire has charred more than 6,000 acres and was 0 percent contained on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Evacuation orders went into effect for residents in the Refugio Canyon, including Arroyo Hondo, Tajiguas, Arroyo Quemada, El Capitan State Park and the El Capitan Campground, the U.S. Forest Service said. An evacuation warning was set in place for the area north of El Capitan Campground and east to Dos Pueblos Canyon, officials said.

Winds of 30 to 35 mph with gusts up to 70 mph were aggravating fast-moving flames as they ripped through dense chaparral, the U.S. Forest Service reported. Highway 101 was closed Tuesday from Las Cruces to Winchester Canyon/Cathedral Oaks Road in Goleta.

Some 600 first responders were working to quell the massive fire on Tuesday afternoon, Santa Barbara fire officials said.

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The fire ignited as a red flag warning went into effect for parts of the state ahead of high winds, which pushed power companies all over California to shut off power to head off potential fires.

Another wind driven wildfire in San Joaquin County damaged about five mobile homes that raced through the Islander Mobile Home Park, Lathrop-Manteca Fire Chief Josh Capper told Fox40-TV. In that fire, an unidentified man suffered severe third-degree burns over most of his body, officials said.

Fires driven by strong winds whipped up blinding dust clouds and forced Pacific Gas & Electric to cut power to thousands of customers in an effort to prevent wildfires.

Although the winds were easing on 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. No injuries were reported and the cause remained under investigation.

READ MORE: CA Wildfires May Have Destroyed Hundreds Of Giant Sequoias

Two other new fires were also ignited by the strong onset of high winds — the Newel fire and the View fire. The Newel fire, burning in Napa County, near American Canyon, burned 132 acres and was 60 percent contained by Tuesday. The View fire burned 24 acres in the Trinity National Forest and was also 60 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon.

Windy weather is a nightmare for firefighters in a state where heat waves and historic drought tied to climate change have left forests and brush tinder-dry. Fires that began in late summer are still burning after destroying hundreds of homes.

In the Sierra Nevada, the KNP Complex fire that may have burned hundreds of giant sequoias was only 30 percent contained. On Monday, a firefighter was struck by a rolling rock. The firefighter was airlifted to a hospital and is in stable condition, fire officials said.

#Alisal Fire – UPDATE – 7 A.M. briefing. Gusty winds continued overnight, pushing the fire up to 6,000 acres, with 0% containment. There still are 100-120 structures threatened. Hopefully, lesser winds will allow air support to work the fire today. 600 FF assigned to the fire. pic.twitter.com/749Q6jXTP1
— SBCFireInfo (@EliasonMike) October 12, 2021
Historic drought tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight this year. Climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive, scientists said.

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#Alisal Fire – UPDATE – 7 A.M. briefing. Gusty winds continued overnight, pushing the fire up to 6,000 acres, with 0% containment. There still are 100-120 structures threatened. Hopefully, lesser winds will allow air support to work the fire today. 600 FF assigned to the fire. pic.twitter.com/749Q6jXTP1
— SBCFireInfo (@EliasonMike) October” class=”redactor-linkify-object”>https://twitter.com/EliasonMik… 12, 2021
More than 7,883 wildfires in California this year have damaged or destroyed more than 3,000 homes and other buildings and torched nearly 2.5 million acres since the beginning of the year. In comparison to the same time last year, there were 8,278 wildfires, which burned more than 3.6 million acres.

See this map from Cal Fire of all fires burning across the state on Tuesday:

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