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Monday, November 19 , 2018, 12:48 pm | Partly Cloudy with Haze 65º

 
 
 
 

Vegetation Fire Shuts Down Highway 166 East of Santa Maria

No structures threatened as blaze blackens 175 acres near San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara county line

Helicopters make water drops on the Alamo Fire burning along Highway 166 east of Santa Maria on Thursday afternoon. An estimated 175 acres were charred. Click to view larger
Helicopters make water drops on the Alamo Fire burning along Highway 166 east of Santa Maria on Thursday afternoon. An estimated 175 acres were charred. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Highway 166 was shut down east of Santa Maria Thursday afternoon by a vegetation fire that had charred an estimated 175 acres. The roadway was expected to remain closed all night. Click to view larger
Highway 166 was shut down east of Santa Maria Thursday afternoon by a vegetation fire that had charred an estimated 175 acres. The roadway was expected to remain closed all night. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Evacuation Warnings Issued for Tepusquet Canyon

A vegetation fire that broke out Thursday afternoon near Twitchell Reservoir east of Santa Maria charred an estimated 175 acres before crews stopped the forward progress, but Highway 166 remained closed Friday.

Cal Fire San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County Fire Department crews responded to the incident off Highway 166, east of Highway 101, at approximately 3:40 p.m.

Flames from the blaze, dubbed the Alamo Fire, were spreading at a moderate rate but not threatening any structures, Cal Fire officials said.

The fire held at 175 acres as of 6 a.m. Friday and air support Thursday included a DC-10 air tanker plus numerous helicopters and other craft.

That big response meant lines of retardant held the blaze in check, allowing crews to halt the forward progress of the flames five hours after the fire's start, Cal Fire officials said Thursday night.

On Friday morning, Cal Fire representatives said crews had contained 20 percent of the fire after continuing the battle overnight.

Once the fire jumped to the south side of Highway 166 around 4:30 p.m., ​Caltrans crews closed the roadway completely between Highway 101 (Santa Maria) and the Cuyama Valley, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Some residents were allowed to enter remote neighborhoods accessed via other roads off the highway west of the fire.

Fire vehicles line Highway 166 east of Santa Maria on Thursday, as crews battled the Alamo Fire. Click to view larger
Fire vehicles line Highway 166 east of Santa Maria on Thursday, as crews battled the Alamo Fire. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The highway is expected to be closed until at least 6 p.m. Friday, the CHP said.

Highway 166 links the Central Coast and the Cuyama Valley.  

Lines of firefighting equipment sat parked on the narrow roadway Thursday afternoon, blocking lanes while crews battled the fire and built containment lines.

Other personnel at the scene included the Santa Maria Fire Department and Los Padres National Forest.

Cal Fire crews battled another fire in northern San Luis Obispo County Thursday afternoon, where structures were threatened for a short time before that blaze's forward progress was stopped at 6 acres, officials said.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Smoke billows up from the Alamo Fire burning along Highway 166 east of Santa Maria on Thursday afternoon. An estimated 175 acres were charred. Click to view larger
Smoke billows up from the Alamo Fire burning along Highway 166 east of Santa Maria on Thursday afternoon. An estimated 175 acres were charred. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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