A wildfire north of Santa Barbara detonated on Monday, prompting evacuation orders and forcing a key Central California highway closure.

The big picture: The unsuppressed Alisal fire has been ignited in the vicinity of the Alisal Reservoir on the Monday afternoon and grew to 2.000 hectares by the evening.

Winds of 30-35 kph (70-2,000 mph) and gusts of as high as 70 kph (2,000-2,000 mph) pushed the blaze over over 2.000 hectares (1.000 acres) toward Tajiguas Beach on Highway 101, according to Inciweb.

The origin of the fire is still unclear.

The freeway was closed near Santa Barbara and evacuation orders issued originally for nearby communities, were extended in the evening to El Capitan State Park and El Capitan Campground, according to the Intergovernmental disaster information Web site.

The closures of 101, the only major highway in the area, have led to traffic jams on nearby State Highway 154 and Interstate 5, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Threat rating: Los Padres National Forest spokesman Andrew Madsen told the Los Angeles Times that besides the winds, firefighters have been worried about fuel in the region, since the area is thought to last burned in the 1955 fire.

Though wind subsided on Tuesday, red flag warnings continued, in effect across Northern California, where wildfires destroyed dozens of mobile homes in mobile home parks in Sacramento County and San Joaquin County.

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The Tea Fire, also known as the Montecito Tea Fire, was a wildfire that began on November 13, 2008, destroying 210 homes in the cities of Montecito and Santa Barbara, (wikipedia)


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Santa Barbara County, California

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Los Padres National Forest

Los Padres National Forest is a United States national forest in southern and central California. Administered by the United States Forest Service, (wikipedia)


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Creek Fire (2020)

The Creek Fire was a large wildfire which started on September 4, 2020 near Shaver Lake, California. The fire burned 379,895 acres and was declared 100% contained on December 24, 2020. (wikipedia)


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Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Dixie Fire

The Dixie Fire is an active wildfire in Butte, Plumas, Lassen, Shasta, and Tehama Counties, California. It is named after the road where it started. (wikipedia)