A brush fire north of Santa Barbara exploded in size, shutting down the 101 Freeway and prompting evacuations as gusty conditions drove flames through rough terrain that hadn’t burned in decades.
The Alisal fire started at 2:30 p.m. near the Alisal Reservoir, fire officials said. Strong winds pushed the fire south toward Tajiguas Landfill and the 101 Freeway.
Spreading flames prompted officials to shut down the 101 between Pacific Coast Highway and Winchester Canyon/Cathedral Oaks Road around 5:30 p.m., according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
The fire eventually crossed the freeway and made its way to Tajiguas Beach, fire officials said.