Highway 166 closed for four hours

Firefighters gained the upper hand Tuesday afternoon on a fast-moving brush fire thatblackened hundreds of acres of grassland at the top of Grocer Grade south of Maricopa, closed Highway 166 for four hours and briefly threatened several homes.
By 4:30 p.m., the fire was reported at about 1,000 acres and about 50 percent contained, KCFD spokesman Matt Redstone said.

Crews would probably be on the fire overnight.

The Hudson Fire broke out about 11:30 a.m. near the intersection of Highway 166 and Hudson Ranch Road and had already burned about 30 acres when the first Kern County firefighters arrived on scene.

The flames spread south on the west side of the highway, then jumped across the roadway to the east near Stubblefield Road while spreading westward into the Temblors.

Multiple engines, patrols hand crews and bulldozers were dispatched from the KCFD, Bureau of Land Management, Los Padres National Forest and Santa Barbara County. Cal Fire air tankers and a water-dropping helicopter from the KCFD also assisted.

At one point, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's office was reported to be evacuating residents along Stubblefield road, but crews on the ground, aided by a water dropping helicopter, were able to protect the homes threatened by the fire.

As the fire spread to the northwest into the Temblor Range, air tankers dropping fire retardant were used to halt the spread.

The CHP opened the highway about the same time after stopping traffic in Maricopa and at the junction with Highway 33 in the Cuyama Valley.