Santa Ana winds fuel Hill, Woolsey fires in Southern California as evacuations expand

Santa Ana winds fuel Hill, Woolsey fires in Southern California as evacuations expand
Ventura County brush fires: Homes go up in flames in Thousand Oaks, Oak Park area
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Two fires have descended on areas of Ventura County late Thursday, forcing mandatory evacuations. (Ventura County Fire Department via Twitter)

Two fires descended on Ventura County in Southern California late Thursday, forcing the evacuation of 30,000 people and threatening thousands of homes from the Newbury Park-Thousand Oak areas, officials said.

The Woolsey Fire broke out about 2:25 p.m. and by 8:30 p.m. had burned about 2,000 acres with zero percent containment. There were no reported injuries to civilians or firefighters, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Large fires threaten Ventura County communities; 101 Freeway closed, more than 1,000 homes evacuated – Los Ang

As flames moved into the Oak Park community of Thousand Oaks, the Ventura County Fire Department issued a mandatory evacuation order, the Ventura County Star reported.

Calabasas city officials advised residents not under mandatory evacuation orders to prepare to leave by gathering their IDs, medications, important documents, emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

Local law enforcement, firefighters head to Ventura County to help with wildfire response

“Many homes are being destroyed,” Bill Nash, a Ventura County spokesman, told the newspaper. “The fire is raging. We’re working hard to get ahead of it but we need people to be aware and not wait for that knock on the door.”

Los Angeles county and city crews were assisting in the firefight, which was taking place as a second, larger brush fire raged further west in Ventura County in the Santa Rosa Valley/Thousand Oaks area.

Many homes are being destroyed. The fire is raging. Were working hard to get ahead of it but we need people to be aware and not wait for that knock on the door. 

The fire was burning toward Hidden Hills and because of the threat mandatory evacuations were issued north of the Ventura (101) Freeway from Valley Circle Boulevard to Lindero Canyon Road.

The fires were a sudden and emotionally taxing new emergency for a region that just the previous evening dealt with a shooting rampage that resulted in 13 deaths.

As the blazes spread, authorities had requested 10 additional fire strike teams to help preserve threatened structures, the Star's report said.

Mandatory evacuations also were issued for parts of Westlake Village, Agoura Hills and Calabasas, the paper reported. Previous evacuation orders remained in place for parts of Bell Canyon.

A second fire pushed to the edge of Camarillo Springs and Cal State Channel Islands, both of which have been evacuated, the Los Angeles Times reported. Mandatory evacuations have also been ordered for all areas of Vallecito Trailer Park and Dos Vientos, along with areas of South Coast outlined on a Ventura Fire Department map.

At least 400 personnel were working on the fire, which began in the Hill Canyon area that had dry brush ripe for fire, according to the Star.

Video: WATCH LIVE: Aerials of the Ventura County Hill Fire, 8 and 10 thousand acres have burned

Massive wildfire near site of mass shooting

“The first part of this fuel bed had not seen fire for many years. Drought-stricken fuels, Santa Ana wind conditions, low relative humidity, high temperatures. It's a recipe for fire,” said Ventura County Fire Department Assistant Chief Chad Cook, the paper reported. He is also the incident commander for the Hill fire.

The blaze had scorched up to 7,000 acres by Thursday evening. Fire officials expect it will burn all the way to the ocean.

Woolsey Fire east of Simi Valley being pushed by Santa Ana winds

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said residents of Calabasas, Hidden Hills and Agoura Hills should prepare for evacuations, according to Southern California News Group.

“Tonight is the peak of our wind event,” Carol Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said late Thursday, according to the paper.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag fire warning that will remain in effect through Friday night, according to the L.A. Times.


Posted in Santa Ana