A wildfire that started Monday afternoon along California's coast exploded in size overnight, leading authorities to close sections of the 101 Freeway and issue evacuation orders as flames spread across some 6,000 acres in the Santa Ynez mountains north of Santa Barbara.
Included in the number of structures and properties within the current evacuation order is Rancho del Cielo, better known as the 600+ acre mountaintop home and presidential retreat of Ronald Reagan.
The blaze, dubbed the Alisal fire, is so far zero percent contained. Flames and the smoke plume could be seen from Rancho del Cielo's vistas in photos tweeted by the Los Padres National Forest as it spread throughout the day on Monday.
#AlisalFire estimated 50-100 acres. @LosPadresNF has initiated a full response to include air support. Winds gusting 35 mph as initial crews & engines arrive on scene. Photo courtesy Fleming Bertelsen. pic.twitter.com/zqjWAtdt4H— Los Padres NF (@LosPadresNF) October 11, 2021
Young America's Foundation — the conservative youth activism nonprofit that preserves Rancho del Cielo (also my previous employer) — reported Tuesday that they were "taking all necessary precautions" to protect the historic Reagan Ranch property. YAF also noted that the Alisal fire is spreading throughout an area that has not burned since 1955, and current conditions — high winds, warm temperatures, and low humidity — are fueling the fire’s spread." In addition, weather conditions prevented tankers from dropping water on the fire overnight.
As of Tuesday morning, 600 firefighters were assigned to the Alisal fire and improving conditions could allow air support to supplement manpower on the ground as more than 100 structures are still threatened by the uncontained blaze.
#Alisal Fire - UPDATE - 7 A.M. briefing. Gusty winds continued overnight, pushing the fire up to 6,000 acres, with 0% containment. There still are 100-120 structures threatened. Hopefully, lesser winds will allow air support to work the fire today. 600 FF assigned to the fire. pic.twitter.com/749Q6jXTP1— SBCFireInfo (@EliasonMike) October 12, 2021
The view from above the #AlisalFire this morning near Refugio Road. The fire is approximately 6,000 acres & there are 600 firefighting personnel working to contain the blaze. pic.twitter.com/4ZmO4RpbJW— Los Padres NF (@LosPadresNF) October 12, 2021
YAF's Reagan Ranch staff — who have dealt with other nearby wildfires in recent years — said in an update that "Young America's Foundation has emergency personnel on site, our systems are tested and prepped, and we are in direct contact with emergency officials. If necessary, crews are prepared to wet down the area around key structures at Rancho del Cielo today."
Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R), now YAF's president, thanked firefighters in a statement and noted that, "Over the years — with the help and leadership of our supporters, staff, and board members — we have taken the necessary steps, as much as a property owner can do, to shield Rancho del Cielo from this very threat."