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Southern California Fire Shuts Highway, Forces Evacuations

SOLVANG, Calif.—Evacuation orders were expanded Tuesday for a growing wildfire driven by intense winds that has shut down a key Southern California highway for more than a day. At least 200 firefighters battled the Alisal Fire, which had scorched 12.5 square miles coastal Santa Barbara County and remained completely uncontained. The fire erupted Monday on a ridge and blasted toward the ocean, forcing closure of U.S. 101, the only major highway on that section of the coast. Evacuation orders and warnings were in place for several areas of the lightly populated region. “The fire is burning in dense chaparral and is being pushed by strong winds and growing at a rapid rate of speed,” a fire update said Tuesday. Gusts reached 70 mph in some areas, officials said. In Northern California, fire crews increased containment of a blaze that destroyed 25 mobile homes, 16 RVs and a park building at …

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