Strong winds fan California wildfires leaving one man burned; Alisal Fire near Santa Barbara burns thousands of acres

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Destructive California wildfires driven by intense winds caused damage at two mobile home parks, destroying some trailers, and one person suffered burns, officials said.

The fires on Monday also toppled trees, whipped up blinding dust clouds and forced a utility to cut power to thousands of customers in an effort to prevent wildfires.

Although the winds eased Tuesday, about 30 structures were destroyed Monday afternoon when wind-driven flames roared through the Rancho Marina RV Park in Sacramento County, River Delta Fire District Deputy Chief Hugh Henderson told ABC10-TV. No injuries were reported and the cause remained under investigation.

In San Joaquin County, a man suffered burns and about five mobile homes were damaged by flames that raced through the Islander Mobile Home Park, Lathrop-Manteca Fire Chief Josh Capper told Fox40-TV.

On the south Santa Barbara County coast, the Alisal Fire had scorched more than 9 square miles by early Tuesday and remained completely uncontained.

Blustery winds surged through California on Tuesday after downing trees, fanning wildfires and shutting off power to about 21,000 customers in northern and central regions.

Red flag warnings of dangerous fire conditions continued in mountains, valleys, canyons and deserts because of dry, windy weather. Winds of 25 mph with gusts up to 70 mph were expected into early Tuesday evening.

Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to about 21,000 customers in 20 central and Northern California counties to reduce the risk that power lines could be toppled, sparking wildfires.

At least a half-dozen fires erupted around the state Monday. A fast-moving brush fire in the Los Padres National Forest in Santa Barbara County has reached nearly 2,000 acres and forced evacuations as of Monday night, according to fire officials.

The Alisal Fire started near Alisal Lake in California. About 200 fire personnel and air units had been called out to the blaze, Los Padres National Forest officials said.

As of 8 p.m. Monday, the fire was considered 0% contained. The blaze threatened as many as 100 structures, including ranches and homes, fire officials said.

An evacuation order was ordered by the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office for the Arroyo Hondo Canyon and Refugio Canyon areas, west of Goleta as a result of the wildfire, according to county officials.

As of Monday afternoon, the fire was burning toward the Tajiguas Landfill with winds from the northwest at 30-35 mph. No cause for the fire was known before 6 p.m., said Andrew Madsen, a national forest spokesman.

The fire is moving east toward Goleta through brush and vegetation and being pushed by the wind downhill, Madsen. He described the area as ranchland.

At some point, the blaze is expected to reach the burn scar from 2015 Sherpa Fire, he noted.

"It's going to run out of ready fuel to burn, and that's always a good place to try to go at it directly," Madsen said.

The area currently burning hasn't caught fire since about 1955, he added.

Train traffic through the corridor has also been halted. The Pacific Surfliner 777 was holding in Santa Barbara because of the fire, according to Amtrak.

On the Central Coast, a tree fell onto power lines at Hearst San Simeon State Park, sparking a small fire in the brush, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection tweeted. And strong winds knocked down a tree, destroying three parked cars and damaging a home in the coastal town of El Granada, in San Mateo County, Cal Fire said. However, no injuries were reported.

Windy weather is a nightmare for firefighters in a state where heat waves and historic drought tied to climate change have left forests and brush tinder-dry. Fires that began in late summer are still burning after destroying hundreds of homes.

In the Sierra Nevada, the KNP Complex fires may have burned hundreds of giant sequoias in groves in Sequoia National Park and was only 30% contained. On Monday, a firefighter with a hand crew working on the blaze was struck by a rolling rock. The firefighter was airlifted to a hospital and is in stable condition, fire officials said.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Follow Brian J. Varela on Twitter @BrianVarela805.

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: California Alisal Fire near Santa Barbara spreads to 2,000 acres

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