SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) – All lanes of state Highway 237 reopened early Tuesday evening after firefighters controlled stubborn brush fires along the highway, officials said.
The highway reopened completely around 6:30 p.m. after five hours of full or partial closures snarled traffic in the South Bay, according to the California Highway Patrol.
At least two new brush fires erupted along the highway west of Great America Parkway near the Santa Clara-Sunnyvale border shortly before 5 p.m. after several earlier blazes led authorities to close the freeway completely, the CHP said.
Two of the four lanes on the westbound side of Highway 237 remained blocked as of 5:17 p.m. as firefighters fought the blazes, CHP officials said.
The earlier brush fires, first reported at 1:34 p.m., prompted the CHP to close both directions of Highway 237 between North First Street and Zanker Road in San Jose.
Firefighters from Sunnyvale and San Jose worked together to put out four brush fires in that area, San Jose fire Capt. Cleo Doss said.
A mixture of brush, trees, grass and organic ground covering on the westbound side of Highway 237 had somehow ignited in several spots and sent out “a lot smoke due to the winds,” Doss said.
Parts of the deep ground covering, which is about 6 to 12 inches deep, were still smoldering mid-afternoon, Doss said.
The eastbound lanes reopened shortly after 3 p.m.
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)