More than 1 200 firefighters are battling the so-called Sherpa Fire in California's Santa Barbara County after it almost tripled in size overnight Friday, June 17, to more than 4 000 acres. As of mid-Friday, the fire was only 5% contained; one outbuilding has been destroyed.
The fire started on Wednesday, June 15, near the Sherpa ranch in the Los Padres National Forest, north of Los Angeles, and quickly grew from 50 to 1 100 acres by Thursday morning. 101 Freeway in both directions along the Gaviota coast between Buellton and Goleta was closed twice on Thursday.
— 89.3 KPCC (@KPCC) June 17, 2016
Fueled by sundowners – northerly winds in Santa Barbara, it almost tripled in size by Friday morning. Sundowners are particularly dangerous during wildfire season because the air heats and dries as it descends from the mountains to the sea.
On Friday morning, the county has declared a state of emergency. Mandatory evacuations were issued for roughly 400 homes and ranches in the area. An air-quality warning was issued for Los Angeles and Orange counties.
The fire is expected to continue growing.
Sherpa Fire, California – June 16, 2016
Sherpa Fire, California – June 17, 2016
The Sherpa Fire is the strongest this area has seen since the massive Refugio fire in 1955.
Wildfires in California have already scorched 30 000 acres this year, about the same as this time last year, which proved to be a particularly damaging season.
Featured image: Sherpa Fire, Santa Barbara, California – June 16, 2016.
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