Fire forces evacuations, shuts down portion of California highway

Hundreds of firefighters are battling a brush fire that sparked west of Santa Barbara, forced evacuations and shut down a portion of Highway 101, CBS Los Angeles reports.

The blaze broke out before 2:30 p.m. Monday amid powerful winds near Alisal Lake in the Santa Ynez Mountains. It was burning in dense chaparral, brush and grass.

The fire had exploded to 6,000 acres as of Tuesday morning, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesperson Mike Eliason. There is no containment.

Highway 101 is closed from Highway 1 at Las Cruces, to Winchester Canyon Road in Goleta. The fire jumped from the east side to the west side of the freeway, Eliason reported early Tuesday morning, and flames were burning along the Gaviota Coast.

Evacuation orders are in place for Arroyo Hondo Canyon and Refugio Canyon, west of Goleta, according to the U.S. Forest Service, along with El Capitan State Park and the El Capitan Campground. Up to 100 structures were threatened, including ranch homes.

There was no word on what caused the fire.