Wildfires have been a serious threat in southern California. With very little rain and strong wind, firefighters are battling both the fires and Mother Nature.
Dramatic video has captured what evacuees faced as they drove right past the erupting fire. They were fleeing the small community of Solimar Beach and a nearby campground, battling the traffic as the flames edged closer.
The fire shut down US101 – a major link between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, jumped the highway and also closed the Union Pacific rail line.
"The fire was wind-driven, with an offshore wind, and blew down to the coast," says Ventura County fire battalion chief Fred Burris.
That's where firefighters made their stand, preventing flames from reaching Solimar Beach, where three dozen upscale homes are sandwiched between the highway and the Pacific Ocean.
"We are hitting it with everything we've got," says chief Norm Plott. "We are making an all-out assault to get this thing boxed up, especially with the heavy weather."
Mp Plott says torrential downpours, driven by El Niño, may be on the way, but in the past six weeks this part of the county has received less than a tenth of an inch of rain.
"The fire's going to resist our control because we're at the end of this drought. Hopefully we're at the end of the drought. The fire's receptive to spotting and we're not out of the woods yet."
But even when the fire is fully extinguished, residents could face a new danger – mudslides.
"We are still predicting El Niño to fall on the hills after the first of the year, with heavy rains, and that is something I'm sure Caltrans and their engineers will be looking at, for stabilisation, if we do get some heavy rain," says Mr Plott.
Fire investigators say they still don't know what started this fire, but at this point it's only 10 percent contained. Firefighters say they expect to be out for at least three days.