Fast-Moving ‘Sherpa Fire’ Forces Mandatory Evacuations in Santa Barbara County

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Firefighters were battling a fast-moving 250-acre brush fire burning Wednesday night in the Refugio Canyon area of Santa Barbara County.

The out-of-control "Sherpa Fire" broke out around 3:30 p.m. and was burning down the canyon toward the ocean, according to local TV station KEYT.

Multiple fire agencies were battling the blaze from the ground and the air, video from the firefight showed.

Late Wednesday evening, Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Dave Zaniboni was quoted as saying the fire had "blown up."

The fire was burning "very close" to the ExxonMobile facility in Las Flores Canyon, KEYT reported.

Around midnight, the California Highway Patrol shut down the northbound 101 Freeway at Winchester Canyon Road and closed the southbound lanes at Buellton, county officials tweeted.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for residents of Refugio, Venadito, and Las Flores Canyons, according to a tweet from Santa Barbara County officials.

A shelter was opened at the Wake Center in the 300 block of N. Turnpike Road in Santa Barbara.

Refugio Campground, Ocean Mesa at El Capitan, El Capitan Campground, and El Capitan State Park were also under a mandatory evacuation order.

Campers were being advised to go to Santa Ynez High School on Highway 246.

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