Massive fire, east of Santa Maria, closes Highway 166

Fatal Accident on Highway 166 title

Fatal Accident on Highway 166

Highway 166 through the area is also closed.

A driver was found dead in his vehicle after going over the side of Highway 166 and landing in a river bottom early Friday, according to County Fire officials.

After five years of severe drought, California had record rainfall and snowfall in parts of the state this year which delayed the start of fire season in some areas.

The fires are especially bad in Santa Barbara County where one is spanning an area of more than 35 sq mi (93 sq km). Gusts up to 50 miles per hour (80 kph) could last through Saturday morning and possibly into Sunday, forecasters said.

Dubbed the Alamo Fire, the blaze that broke out near Santa Maria led to the evacuations of about 300 people from homes on rural roads, county fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said. "It has already destroyed some structures, and mandatory evacuations are in place".

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Evacuations orders affected almost 300 homes.

Paradise Road and West Camino Cielo are under an evacuation warning. "Prepare to leave. If you feel threatened or have special needs leave now". People with special needs should evacuate now. Six large animals were received there Friday, according to the release.

At least two other fires sparked Saturday in Atascadero and San Miguel in northern San Luis Obispo County. The high in Los Angeles reached 110 on Saturday.

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter for evacuees.

There are no known injuries.

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Crews were also using an air attack against another blaze about 50 miles north that exploded in size to 37.5 square miles. The dogs were reunited with their owners today. As of 7 a.m. Saturday it was at 10% containment.

The previous record of 95°F was set in 1886, the NWS said. "It's very hot, winds are coming from different directions, and they're forecasting sundowners for this weekend".

The Whittier Fire started Saturday and spread quickly.

Brown said that battalion chiefs have been on the fire line directing firefighters and the county Office of Emergency Services has been activated.

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