Brush fire shuts down highway north of Gaviota Tunnel following car crash

Fire burns about two acres

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - A brush fire that broke out just after 3 p.m. Thursday shut down both sides of U.S. Highway 101 north of the Gaviota Tunnel.

Authorities believe a single-vehicle crash that occurred at the scene of the fire is to blame for the start of the blaze.

U.S. 101 southbound was closed at Highway 1. U.S. 101 northbound was closed at Mariposa Reina, according to the California Highway Patrol. Motorists traveling from north county to south county and vice versa, were advised to take Highway 154.

All northbound lanes reopened by 5:30 p.m. One lane on the southbound side remains closed.

The fire scorched a little over two acres before crews got the upper hand, according to fire officials. Despite heavy winds, the fire did not appear to have spread further. Firefighters with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department were assisted by U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Navy Fire personnel.

Santa Barbara County Fire spokesperson Mike Eliason said the U.S. Navy firefighters were driving home from fighting fires in Northern California when they stopped to help.

Two helicopters made water drops on the fire, which officials have been calling the Tunnel Fire. Crews will remain on scene putting out hot spots.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire. The female driver involved in the crash was not injured, Eliason said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

No further details were immediately available.


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