California wildfire burns 1,200 acres northwest of Los Angeles

California wildfire burns 1,200 acres northwest of Los Angeles

California wildfire burns 1,200 acres northwest of Los Angeles

Written by Staff Writer

27 Dec, 2015 | 9:19 am

A wildfire northwest of Los Angeles burned about 1,200 acres of land, forced the closure of parts of a major highway and led to evacuations.

More than 600 firefighters battled the blaze in the Solimar Beach area of Ventura County, and parts of U.S. Highway 101 were closed for part of the day, county fire department officials told a news conference.

No structures have been damaged by the fire, but nearby Union Pacific rail lines were closed for a period and the fire is a threat to oil, gas and power lines.

The northbound side of the highway, a major roadway in the region, reopened around 2 p.m. local time (2200 GMT) according to state transportation officials, and the southbound side was moving 30 minutes later according to a Reuters witness.

Downed power lines were believed to be the cause of the fire. Helicopters and fixed-wing tankers were helping to battle the blaze with water drops.

Fire officials had earlier reported that parts of the Pacific Coast highway also were closed, but a fire department spokeswoman said only a portion that overlaps the 101 was closed. Venture is about 65 miles (105 km) northwest of Los Angeles.

The fire started at around 11 p.m. local time on Friday near Venture, and strong winds as high as 50 miles per hour and dry vegetation caused it to grow rapidly, fire officials said.

The Slimmer Beach community, with 50 to 60 homes, and a nearby campground were under a mandatory evacuation order, while a voluntary one had been issued for the nearby Faria Beach community, where there are 30 to 40 homes, fire officials said.

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