The Cave fire, which broke out on Nov. 25 near Highway 154 and Painted Cave Road, is now at 90% containment, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Fanned by high winds and burning across thick, dry brush in the Los Padres National Forest, the blaze scorched 3,126 acres, down from more than 4,330 acres at its peak, according to County Fire spokesman Mike Eliason. 

Due to its rapid spread upon outbreak, the Cave fire forced the evacuation of thousands of residents and the closure of Highway 154. 

Efforts to quell the fire were aided significantly by a rain event Tuesday evening that brought up to 1 inch of water, followed by snow early Thursday.

Evacuation orders were lifted Wednesday, allowing residents to return to their homes in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Highway 154 reopened Monday morning. A one-lane traffic control north of Highway 101 remains in place, starting at Whitaker's Curve and lasting about one-tenth of a mile. Delays should be expected, according to the California Highway Patrol.

After the blaze broke out, more than 800 firefighters from agencies that included Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest service responded from across Southern California, including Kern, San Bernardino, Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties. 

More than 50 personnel from Santa Barbara County remain on scene, Eliason said. 

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No injuries or permanent structure damage were reported from the fire.


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