The Red Cross has opened a shelter in the area as firefighters work to save homes near Solimar Beach.
At around 2am local time on Saturday (11pm NZT) in a video posted on Facebook, Venture County Fire Department Captain Steve Kaufman said the fire was near the beach, “bumping up against the roadway”. Authorities confirmed that the blaze was started by a downed power line. However, working through the night, firefighters managed to control 60 percent of the inferno and reopened the highway by 2:05 p.m. Fire Department Capt. Mike Lindbery tweeted, confirming the news.
Drivers were forced onto Highway 33 and 150, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Having seen no roadblocks, Maiike Maks thought her family was a safe distance from the Solimar wildfire as they drove down the Southern California freeway on their way to an National Basketball Association game in Los Angeles, CNN reports.
Part of Highway 101 was shut down because of the wind-fueled wildfire.
Fire officials said more than 600 firefighters and four fixed-wing tankers were being thrown at the fire, which was only 10% contained by Saturday afternoon.
Mandatory and voluntary evacuations remain in place for less than 100 residences in Ventura County.
The inferno is also raging through an area with an extensive network of oil wells and underground pipelines, officials said, adding that none of the wells or pipelines had been ignited by the flames.
The Ventura County Fire Department said some 400 firefighters made great progress against the wind-driven blaze yesterday and have stopped its forward spread.
Caltrans officials urged truck drivers to use Interstate 5 because of the windy conditions on the detour routes off Highway 101.
It grew rapidly due to the wind and dry conditions after starting around 10.30pm on Friday.
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