Evacuations Ordered in Santa Barbara County as Wildfire Grows to 19,000 Acres

A firefighters maneuvers his vehicle down a private road as the Alamo fire burned continued to burn out of control near Santa Maria on July 8, 2017. (Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A fast-moving wildfire burning in northern Santa Barbara County has grown to 19,000 acres, forcing evacuations amid soaring temperatures, officials said.

The Alamo fire, which started Thursday and eventually grew to 6,000 acres, roared across another 12,000 acres by Saturday afternoon near the border of San Luis Obispo County, prompting a frantic response from firefighters across Southern California, officials said.

The fire, located near Highway 166, was only 10% contained, officials said. Crews were battling to protect Tepusquet Canyon, their efforts hampered by extreme heat, low humidity and winds from the northeast.

“Low humidity, high heat and the winds are right — and there’s just a lot of stuff to burn,” said Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Gina DePinto. She said firefighters’ main focus Saturday is to secure the south and east sides of the blaze. If winds shift toward the northwest, as expected, homes could burn, she said.

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