VENTURA, Calif. (AP/CBS13) – A wind-whipped brush fire has kept a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway closed for hours and forced the evacuation of dozens of homes northwest of Los Angeles.
The Ventura County Fire Department said the brush fire that started northwest of the city of Ventura spread to 1,200 acres Saturday. Winds reached 50 mph in the dry area.
Highway 101 – a major north-south route in Southern California – was closed in both directions for roughly 15 miles from state Highway 150 to state Highway 33, forcing holiday travelers to take narrow, backcountry roads. The fire had also stopped rail traffic through the region.
About 60 homes were ordered evacuated in the coastal Solimar Beach community and another 30 were under voluntary evacuation.
Ventura County Fire spokesman Tom Kruschke says the fire is about 10 percent contained.
Bulldozer crews were actively working to create a perimeter and contain the fire, and air tankers were dispatched and began to make drops, slowing the forward progress of the fire. The FAA also issued a Temporary Flight Restriction, which requires non-firefighting aircraft to stay at least 5 nautical miles away from the fire.