By MADISON HIRNEISEN and ANNELISE HANSHAW
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITERS
The Alisal Fire expanded to more than 13,400 acres Tuesday evening as firefighters continued attacking the blaze amidst windy, smoky conditions. The fire was 5% contained as of 7 p.m.
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors declared a local state of emergency Tuesday afternoon in response to the fire. The board also asked that Gov. Gavin Newsom reinforce the county’s state of emergency.
The fire, which began Monday afternoon near Alisal Reservoir, established itself in Refugio Canyon Tuesday and moved toward the burn scar of the 2016 Sherpa Fire, Santa Barbara City Fire Chief Chris Mailes told the City Council. He maintained there was no current threat to Santa Barbara.
Chief Mailes said Tuesday that the fire is starting to move down to the ocean area in several places and is starting to trek east, though it continues to burn through Refugio Canyon and to the west of the canyon.
Northwest winds of up to 40 mph pushed the fire southeast on Tuesday, according to Chief Mailes. The wind’s speed prohibited crews from utilizing fixed-wing aircraft, though helicopters delivered water drops over the flames.
Crews were hopeful that the winds would die down Tuesday evening.
The Office of Emergency Management extended an evacuation area to the area east of Calle Mariposa Reina, west of Arroyo Hondo, and south of West Camino Cielo at 3 p.m. Tuesday — 20 hours since the last change in evacuations.
Officials said Tuesday that about 100 to 150 structures remained threatened by the blaze, and one barn had been damaged.
The fire surrounded the Tajiguas Landfill Monday night, and the biofilter outside the Materials Recovery Facility flared up Tuesday. Public Works describes the biofilter as an “uncovered concrete structure filled with wood chips that receives and filters air from inside the maintenance recovery facility.”
The Alisal Fire also damaged the landfill’s drainage, landfill gas collection systems and heavy equipment. As part of a contingency plan, facilities in Ventura County will manage waste collected in the area on a short-term basis, according to a news release from the Public Works Department.
Andrew Madsen, the public affairs officer for Los Padres National Forest, told the News-Press Tuesday that he’s encouraging people to keep an eye on fire activity in the coming days.
Smoke from the blaze was visible in downtown Santa Barbara on Tuesday, and fire officials reported low visibility in Refugio Canyon and near El Capitan State Beach.
For more on the fire, see Wednesday’s News-Press.