Strong winds push the Alisal Fire to Highway 101 in Southern California

25 miles northwest of Santa Barbara, California

8:55 p.m. PDT Oct. 11, 2021

KEYT reported that the Alisal Fire burned approximately 3,000 acres by 7:30 p.m.

7:02 p.m. PDT Oct. 11, 2021

Alisal Fire Map
Map showing the origin location and initial spread of the Alisal Fire, October 11, 2021.

Within a few hours after it started at about 2:30 p.m. PDT Monday, very strong winds pushed the Alisal Fire three miles downhill from a ridgetop to the Pacific Ocean at Refugio State Beach west of Santa Barbara, California. Winds out of the north-northwest at 20 to 30 mph gusting to 50 drove it to Highway 101 by 5:30 p.m.

To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Alisal Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.

Alisal Fire 3-D map
Alisal Fire 3-D map, Oct. 11, 2021, looking north.

The wind was so strong that air tankers and even a mapping plane were unable to work on the fire during the initial hours.

Alisal Fire
Alisal Fire at Hwy. 101 at 5:43 p.m. Oct. 11, 2021. Via OurAirSBC

Monday afternoon the Alisal Fire was 25 miles west-northwest of Santa Barbara and 5 miles northeast of Gaviota.

Highway 101 is closed in the area and evacuations are in effect. An interactive evacuation map is available at Enter your address at the top right field to determine if your area is under an Evacuation Order.

Alisal Fire
Alisal Fire, soon after it started. By Los Padres NF Air Attack. Oct. 11, 2021.

The relative humidity was surprisingly high Monday afternoon, ranging from 30 to 50 percent. The weather forecast for the fire area is for the wind to continue to be from the northwest until 10 p.m. Tuesday. The speed until 11 p.m. Monday is predicted to be 37 gusting to 49 mph, then decreasing at 2 a.m. Tuesday to 18 gusting to 24 until 10 p.m. Tuesday, after which it should drop to 5 mph out of the north. The relative humidity will peak at 71 percent at 8 p.m. Monday then steadily drop, reaching 19 percent by 2 p.m. Tuesday.

This predicted wind direction should cause the fire to spread more to the east than to the west.

Alisal Fire
Alisal Fire, looking southeast from the Refugio1 camera at 6:45 p.m. Oct. 11, 2021.
Alisal Fire. Satellite photo
Alisal Fire. Satellite photo at 5:17 p.m. PDT Oct. 11, 2021.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

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