even tanker aircraft and three helicopters were working to extinguish the Alamo Fire on Thursday, July 6, 2017, that’s burning along Highway 166 on the San Luis Obispo County/Santa Barbara County line east of Santa Maria.
A wildfire that crews worked to tame overnight in San Luis Obispo County grew ferociously Friday after 90-degree heat and low humidity spurred flames across a containment line and deeper into the mountains and toward rural homes near Los Padres National Forest, authorities said.
The Alamo fire exploded to more than 500 acres and was “rapidly” moving southwest into Santa Barbara County, where it threatened a number of isolated homes Friday afternoon, said Chris Elms, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
“Yesterday as the sun went down we threw everything we had at it from the air, held it to 175 acres,” Elms said. “As the sun came up, temperatures went through the roof.”
The fire had been about 20% contained to start the morning but only because of air drops of fire retardant, Elms said. The blaze jumped that barrier and Highway 166 in the afternoon and in just a couple of hours had nearly tripled in size as it raked over 500 acres of chamise and dense scrub oak in an unforgiving landscape.
“The terrain is just super steep, almost cliffs in some areas,” Elms said.
About 3:30 p.m. the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office ordered mandatory evacuations for homes in the Tepusquet and Blazing Saddle neighborhoods.
A fleet of firefighting aircraft were requested to try and battle the flames as dusk and the notorious “sundowner” winds typically kick in, Elms said.
This post will be updated with additional details as they become available.
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