A brush fire broke out in the middle of a major California interstate on Friday and spread to a nearby neighborhood, threatening homes and forcing the highway's closure.

Television images showed the blaze burning near Interstate 15, a major north-south route between Southern California and Nevada, and closing in on nearby homes.

Local KCAL-9 reported that the fire forced evacuations in one nearby community.

A spokesman for the California Department of Transportation said both sides of the highway were shut down as firefighters battled the blaze.

Spokeswoman Terri Kasinga said the fire broke out in the median strip of the freeway at about 12:30 p.m. local time on Friday and had since spread to southbound side.