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High winds spread Southern California wildfire

Firefighters in Galeto, Calif., on Tuesday Associated Press/Photo by Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department

High winds spread Southern California wildfire

High winds are fueling the Alisal Fire, which erupted Monday in Santa Barbara County, Calif. More than a thousand firefighters were battling the blaze in 40-50 mph winds, extensive drought, and steep terrain.

How big is the fire? On Wednesday, it covered more than 24 square miles in the Santa Ynez Mountains west of Santa Barbara and was only 5 percent contained. The blaze was just a few miles from the ranch once owned by former President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy. The president hosted several world leaders at the property then known as the Western White House. The fire prompted officials to shut down Highway 101, the famed coastal roadway. They also issued evacuation orders for the lightly populated area. 

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read author John R. Erickson’s account of a wildfire on his West Texas ranch in 2017.

Leigh Jones

Leigh is acting managing editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.


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