Alisal Fire Threatens Homes; 101 Freeway Still Closed

A fast-moving wildfire northwest of Santa Barbara threatened scores of homes as well as a shuttered oil refinery late Tuesday as flames covered more than 13,000 acres and continued to force closure of the 101 Freeway.

Dubbed the Alisal fire, the blaze has displaced thousands of residents and is threatening roughly 100 homes and ranches, fire officials said.

Firefighters were also monitoring the fire’s proximity to the ExxonMobile facility in Las Flores Canyon. The processing facility, part of what was officially known as ExxonMobile’s Santa Ynez Unit, halted operations following the 2015 Refugio oil spill. The following year, the petroleum giant trucked away all remaining oil stored in the unit and placed it into a “preserved state,” according to the company’s website.

Around 1 p.m. Tuesday, firefighters from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the California Conservation Corps hiked up a Santa Barbara County hillside and braced for structure defense. Firefighter Alex Soto said the crew’s main goal was to clear vegetation and make room for firefighting vehicles to pass through, in an effort to defend some nearby ranches. …

Click here to read the full story from the L.A. Times.

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