The Alisal fire in Santa Barbara County, California, is threatening the ranch once owned by late President Ronald Reagan, and firefighters are working to save the “Western Whitehouse.”
The 688-acre ranch, dubbed Rancho del Cielo, served at a vacation home for Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan during his time as president.
“The fire was several miles from the ranch, which has good defensible space, and several USFS engines were arriving to provide structure protection,” Santa Barbara County Fire public information officer Mike Eliason wrote on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.
#Alisal Fire – UPDATE- 7 a.m. briefing held at ICP/Earl Warren Showgrounds. 14,500 acres, 5% contained. 1,300 personnel assigned with more on the way. Hoping for favorable winds for fixed-wing aircraft to engage. Photos by Christina Favuzzi/MFD pic.twitter.com/81IA8b1HsY
— SBCFireInfo (@EliasonMike) October 13, 2021
Deadline reported on the development:
The Reagans bought the ranch in 1974, as his term as governor was ending. It served as a western White House during his presidency, hosting a number of world leaders. The property was sold to the conservative Young America’s Foundation in 1998.
“YAF leadership is working with Congressional allies and other leaders who are their offering support in acquiring resources to help fight this fire,” the foundation said in a statement, adding that there were several fire engines on the property and fire retardant was being sprayed around the structures. The foundation also was working to provide access to emergency crews to two lakes at the ranch that contain more than one million gallons of water.
Scott Walker, former governor of Wisconsin and president of the foundation, said his organization has “taken the necessary steps, as much as a property owner can do, to shield Rancho del Cielo from this very threat. I have confidence our team and the emergency crews will do everything they can to protect Rancho del Cielo and the surrounding area.”
The NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia reported on the fire:
A major highway in Southern California coastal mountains remained closed Wednesday and evacuation orders were in place as a growing wildfire chewed through dry vegetation in the region. More than 760 firefighters battled the Alisal Fire, which covered 21 square miles (54 square kilometers) along the south Santa Barbara County coast and was only 5 percent contained, county fire officials said.
The fire erupted Monday on a ridge and swept toward the ocean, forcing the closure of U.S. 101, the only major highway on that section of the coast. Evacuation orders and warnings were in place for ranches and several rural communities.
“While the area is lightly populated, the blaze burning in dense chaparral threatened more than 100 homes, ranches and other buildings,” the report concluded.
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