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Morning Brief: The Alisal Fire, Speed Limits, And The Home Run That Wasn’t

A fire is shown burning land at night. In the foreground, a white and blue Santa Barbara County fire truck is parked. In the background, bright red, orange and yellow flames can be seen against a black sky.
The Alisal Fire burns on Oct. 11, 2020.
(Courtesy Santa Barbara Fire Department)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Oct. 13.

Monday’s extreme winds did exactly what experts feared, causing a fire to spread quickly just north of Santa Barbara, near Solvang.

The Alisal Fire started Monday afternoon, and by Tuesday evening had scorched 8,000 acres, required evacuation mandates and warnings, and threatened structures in the area. The blaze also shut down part of the 101 in both directions, between Pacific Coast Highway and Winchester Canyon Road/Cathedral Oaks. Train service is also suspended close to the flames.

Amalie Orme, professor of geography and environmental studies at Cal State Northridge, said she was surprised the area hadn’t succumbed to a wildfire before now.

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"This area has not burned in over 60 years, which is remarkable," she said.

Orme expressed concern that if the winds don't let up, the fire could pass through the canyons in the Santa Ynez Mountains and threaten the community of Goleta, but “we're not there yet," she said.

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As of Tuesday afternoon, fire officials reported strong northwest winds between 30 to 35 mph, and gusts up to 70 miles per hour.

And if you’re wondering whether this is, in part, an effect of climate change, the answer is yes. According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, “the area burned by wildfire from 1984 to 2015 was twice what would have burned had climate change not occurred.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go ... Did The Wind Steal A Dodgers Home Run?

Gavin Lux makes a full swing with his left hand outstretched and a faded crowd behind him.
Gavin Lux #9 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches his fly out against the San Francisco Giants during the ninth inning in game 3 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 11, 2021.
(Ronald Martinez
Getty Images)

On Monday, Gavin Lux’s hit in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Giants looked like it could have been a homer, but for the wind. We asked David Kagan, an emeritus professor of physics at Cal State Chico, and he said the boys in blue may have been robbed by Mother Nature herself.

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