How to get from SLO County to L.A. around the Hwy. 101 wildfire closures

Update, Monday 7:20 a.m.

Highway 101 between Agoura Hills and Calabasas has reopened, Caltrans District 7 said in a tweet. However, offramps in the area from Reyes Adobe Road in Agoura Hills to Valley Circle Boulevard in Calabasas are still closed.

Highway 1 remains closed from Sunset Boulevard in Santa Monica to Wood Road in Camarillo, Caltrans said.

Original story:

Highway 101 closures caused by wildfires burning in Ventura and Los Angeles counties are making it tough for San Luis Obispo County travelers to reach Southern California.

The Hill Fire, which sparked in Ventura County between Camarillo and Newbury Park on Thursday, closed part of Highway 101 overnight. It’s grown to 6,100 acres and still threatens 437 structures.

Although that section of the freeway is open, the Woolsey Fire — which sparked near Simi Valley on Thursday — closed another section of Highway 101 north of Los Angeles early Friday morning.

The freeway is closed from Reyes Adobe Road in Agoura Hills to Valley Circle Boulevard in Hidden Hills, according to a Caltrans District 7 tweet.

The Woolsey Fire is burning into populated areas of Malibu, and Caltrans officials urged everyone to stay off the Pacific Coast Highway, which is being used to evacuate residents.

To avoid the firefighting operations and evacuation traffic, here are some alternate routes for San Luis Obispo County travelers trying to reach Los Angeles and Southern California.

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Most all open routes heading into Los Angeles will require a detour onto Highway 5, which will take drivers away from the fire-affected areas near the coast.

There are five different routes that reach Highway 5 from various San Luis Obispo County locations.

For those who want to stay on Highway 101 as long as possible, you can drive south through Santa Barbara and then switch to either Highway 126 in Ventura or Highway 118 in Camarillo.

Both routes connect to Highway 5, but there is a significant downside — the two roads are likely jammed with traffic because lots of other drivers are also using them to get around the fire.

To bypass those roads, you can also take Highway 166 near Santa Maria. Although it connects to Highway 5, it’s windy and long and may not be your safest bet.

The same goes for Highway 58 from Santa Margarita — it will get you to Highway 5 in a pinch, but it’s not the preferred route for most drivers.

The best route is likely Highway 46 in Paso Robles. It’s straighter, shorter and safer and will probably have less traffic than the roads branching off Highway 101 in Ventura County.

By train

If you want to bypass the roads entirely, Amtrak service on the Pacific Surfliner route has not yet been interrupted by the fires.

There are lots of stops along the coast from San Luis Obispo all the way to San Diego.

But be sure to plan ahead and check the Pacific Surfliner’s Twitter account frequently. The paths of the fires are changing quickly, and it’s possible train service could eventually get shut down.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseymholden
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