Hundreds of properties including Brad Pitt’s beach house evacuated in California wildfire

Alisal wildfire has now burned more than 16,900 acres in Santa Barbara County

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Friday 15 October 2021 17:42
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Strong winds push California wildfire along coast

Hundreds of properties including Brad Pitt’s California beach house were evacuated as the Alisal wildfire continues to burn on.

Pitt, 57, bought the $5.5m property in Goleta, near Santa Barbara, in 2000, but now officials have included it the evacuation warning zone as firefighters battle the blaze.

The wildfire started on Monday in the Santa Ynez Mountains and has now burned its way south over 16,901 acres to the ocean by Thursday night.

At least 1,731 firefighters have been battling the fire, which is now 41 per cent contained.

Three homes and two outbuildings have been destroyed by the fire, and a total of 439 buildings have been threatened by the flames.

Santa Barbara County Fire officials say that more cooperative winds have helped them increase containment from 5 per cent on Wednesday.

Strong and shifting winds from the north had fanned the fire, forcing the closure of the 101 freeway in western Santa Barbara County, which has now been re-opened.

Evacuation orders remain in place for the area of Arroyo Hondo Canyon and Refugio Canyon west of Goleta due to the wildfire.

That order is expanded to the area between El Capitan Beach State Park and W Camino Cielo Rd.

A new order was placed on Thursday morning including the region surrounding the Hwy 101 and SR 1 intersection in Las Cruces, including Vista Del Mar School and Gaviota Beach.

An evacuation warning has been issued for the area east of El Capitan Beach State Park, west of Dos Pueblos Canyon Rd, and south of W Camino Cielo, including east of Calle Mariposa Reina, west of Arroyo Hondo.

Fire crews have also been protecting Rancho del Cielo, which was once owned by Ronald and Nancy Reagan and was known as the Western White House during his presidency.

Officials say that area has not burned since 1955.

“We are thankful that there has been no fire activity on the actual Reagan Ranch property. The Ranch, itself, is still in a very defensible position,” said Jessica Jensen, vice president and chief of staff of the Young America’s Foundation, which now operates the ranch.

California wildfires have scorched nearly 3,900 square miles this year and destroyed more than 3,600 homes, businesses and other structures, according to the state Department of Forestry.

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