A fast-moving, two-alarm brush fire charred an estimated 443 acres along the Gaviota Coast and was considered 20 percent contained as of Thursday night, authorities said.
The Real Fire broke out around 4:30 p.m. Thursday on the northbound side of Highway 101 near El Capitan Canyon. The blaze prompted several evacuations and resulted in a full closure of the 101 for several hours Thursday afternoon, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
A second alarm was requested soon after the fire broke out. Multiple local fire agencies were accompanied by several air resources, as the fire was fanned by 40 to 50 mph winds that pushed the fire southeast toward the ocean and the city of Goleta at a high rate of speed.
Evacuation orders remained in place for El Capitan Canyon overnight Thursday. Residents along the coastal area between Dos Pueblos Canyon and Gaviota were under evacuation warnings for a time as crews battled the fire, according to officials.
Heavy smoke billowed in the air and traffic along the 101 came to a stand still. Southbound 101 was closed at Refugio State Beach and northbound 101 was closed at Las Varas until around 8 p.m. Thursday. Train traffic was also halted for a time, authorities said.
Local fire crews were assisted by the Los Padres National Forest and several air resources. Engine companies on scene were engaged in structure defense and crews, engines and dozers on Thursday night were laying hose line and reinforcing fire lines to ensure there was a direct line around the fire.
A total of 250 firefighters were on scene Thursday night and crews remained on scene into this morning to ensure the fire was kept in check, said Capt. Daniel Bertucelli, county fire spokesman.
More than 100 structures were threatened by the fire, though no structure damage and no injuries had been reported as of Thursday night, he added.
Incident commanders initially reported the fire had charred 50 acres. The fire burned in areas that were charred by the 2016 Sherpa Fire, which burned a total of 7,474 acres along the Gaviota Coast.