California highway reopens, but fire remains a threat to homes

Although a key highway in Southern California was closed for several days due to a wildfire, it was reopened Thursday night by authorities. However, they warned that remote properties within a coastal mountain range could still be at risk from the flames.

California highway reopens, but fire remains a threat to homes

Since Monday's eruption, the Alisal Fire has charred 26 miles (67 km) of chaparral in Santa Ynez Mountains west Santa Barbara. It is now 11% contained.

The fire threatened about 100 ranches, and isolated homes. More than 1,300 firefighters responded to the call. Rancho del Cielo is one of the properties being protected. It was once home to Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan, and was used by them as their retreat in the west during his presidency. High atop the mountain range, is this ranch of 688 acres (278 hectares).

The winds that blew the fire out sent flames down the mountain face toward the Pacific Ocean. After jumping over the U.S. 101 highway, the fire reached a beach. Since then, the winds have changed but been less intense.

According to Kristen Allison, a fire information officer Kristen Allison, firefighters were focused on stopping the westward movement of the blaze on Thursday.

To keep the fire burning north, Aircraft dropped a long line with fire retardant along a ridgetop roadway to slow the fire's progress to the east. To the west was a more recent burn scar.

Andrew Madsen, information officer at Los Padres National Forest, stated that "the further this fire moves east and west, it will move into fire scars from past wildfires, so these areas won't have nearly as many fuels to burn with,"

According to Jessica Jensen (an official of the Young America's Foundation), a conservative organization that manages the ranch, the fire was still about a half mile (0.8 km) away from the Reagan ranch.

The foundation expressed its confidence in the security measures taken to protect the ranch property.

The railway line was reopened on Thursday afternoon, and traffic resumed moving on U.S. 101 a few hours later.

Other warnings were issued for high fire danger in Northern California's interior because of gusty winds, low humidity, and dry vegetation.

Pacific Gas & Electric originally planned to shut down power to thousands in many counties on Thursday, to prevent any wind-related fires.

The utility claimed that the wind event was weaker than expected, which led to thousands of shutoffs Monday. They then quickly scaled back the forced outage plan. Customers in one county received notices of possible power outages by midday.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, wildfires in California have destroyed nearly 3,900 homes and businesses, and scorched close to 3,900 square miles (10.101 kilometers) of land.

Wildfires are becoming more difficult to combat because of a historic drought in the American West, which is linked to climate change. It has already killed millions of trees in California. Scientists believe that climate change has made West more dry and warmer over the past 30 years. This will make wildfires more destructive and more extreme in the West.

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