Story Summary

Springs Fire in Ventura County

Raw Video: Crews Attack Springs Fire From the AirA wind-driven brush fire that began off the 101 Freeway in Camarillo on Thursday has grown to 8,000 acres, forcing residents from their homes.

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 9 updates
sprigns-after

A firefighter is dwarfed by the burned hillside above Hidden Valley. (Anne Cusack/L.A. Times/May 4, 2013)

NEWBURY PARK, Calif. (KTLA) — The Springs Fire in Ventura County was 90 percent contained Tuesday morning, officials said.

It was expected to be completely under control by the end of the day, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The blaze began off the 101 Freeway near Thousand Oaks last Thursday and scorched a path to the ocean, burning decades-old brush around Point Mugu State Park.

It charred 28,000 acres and damaged 15 homes, forcing hundreds to evacuate as firefighters battled the fast-moving flames.

At its peak, the fire threatened about 4,000 homes. More than 1,800 fire personnel battled the blaze.

The fire was fueled by a combination of hot, dry conditions and strong Santa Ana winds.

A dramatic change in the weather over the weekend, which saw showers and cooler temperatures, helped fire crews gain the upper hand.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but officials said on Sunday that they had ruled out arson.

Instead, they believed the blaze was started by a small “undetermined roadside ignition of grass/debris.”

Eight firefighters and at least one civilian suffered minor injuries. The cost of fighting the fire was estimated at $10 million.

CAMARILLO, Calif. — The damp and cooler weather has helped firefighters get a handle on the Springs Fire, which scorched 28,000 acres in Ventura County.

The fire was 80 percent contained as of Monday morning, the Ventura County Fire Department said, with full containment expected Tuesday.

Firefighters made the transition to mop-up mode on Sunday, but they weren’t letting down their guard.

There were still more than 1,000 firefighters on the lines, 62 engines and six helicopters.

The fire, which burned from Thousand Oaks to the ocean, damaged 15 homes and destroyed at least 25 other structures.

It threatened 4,000 homes at its peak, fire officials said.

Six firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze, and one civilian was also injured.

Although the cause of the fire remains under investigation, officials said Sunday that they have ruled out arson.

Instead, they believe the fire was started by a small “undetermined roadside ignition of grass/debris.”

The fire started Thursday off the southbound 101 Freeway near Thousand Oaks, just north of the truck scales on the Conejo Grade, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The flames spread quickly in the steep terrain, fanned by strong Santa Ana winds.

Firefighters got a welcome reprieve Saturday with a dramatic change in the weather that brought significantly lower temperatures and high humidity.

The humidity was so high Saturday that firefighters had trouble setting backfires.

Cal Fire authorities dispatched hundreds of firefighters from across the state to Ventura County.

Firefighters and additional ground personnel were also deployed from Oregon, Arizona, Idaho and New Mexico.

At the peak of the fire, more than 1,800 fire personnel were on the scene.

But by late Saturday, fire officials began releasing some engine companies sand all mandatory evacuations were lifted.

-KTLA/Los Angeles Times

CAMARILLO, Calif. (KTLA) — Cooler temperatures have helped firefighters get the upper hand on the massive Springs Fire burning in Ventura County.

As of Sunday morning, the fire was 75 percent contained and all mandatory evacuation orders had been lifted.

While battling the flames, three firefighters suffered minor injuries from ash and embers in their eyes, while another slipped on a steep hillside.

He suffered a head injury and was taken to an area hospital, according to Cal Fire Division Chief Tony Mecham.

The massive fire has damaged 15 homes, although it should be noted, none of the houses was destroyed.

Five commercial properties were also damaged and 25 outbuildings destroyed, according to Cal Fire.

The blaze was reported around 6:45 a.m. Thursday just west of the southbound 101 near Camarillo Springs Road.

It quickly burned across the Camarillo landscape toward Newbury Park, scorching 100 acres in less than an hour.

Fire officials expect full containment by Monday evening.

CAMARILLO, Calif. (KTLA) — Cooler temperatures have helped firefighters get the upper hand on the massive Springs Fire burning in Ventura County.

As of Saturday afternoon, the fire had consumed at least 28,000 acres and was 56 percent contained, Ventura County fire officials said.

Fire officials expect full containment by Monday.

Evacuation orders for residents in the affected area have been lifted.

The massive fire has damaged 15 homes, although it should be noted, none of the houses was destroyed.

Five commercial properties were also damaged and 25 outbuildings destroyed, according to Cal Fire.

The blaze was reported around 6:45 a.m. Thursday just west of the southbound 101 near Camarillo Springs Road.

It quickly burned across the Camarillo landscape toward Newbury Park, scorching 100 acres in less than an hour.

Sky5 was overhead as flames consumed nearly half a dozen RVs in a storage parking area as well as an abandoned structure.

Several agricultural buildings also burned in the middle of a strawberry field.

By the afternoon, the fire had made its way to Point Mugu State Park on a trek toward the ocean.

It reached the coast Friday evening.

Hidden Valley, Calif. (KTLA) – Residents near the massive Springs Fire burning in Ventura County face the difficult decision of whether to leave the area or stay put.

A mandatory evacuation order remains in place for Yerba Buena Road and Deer Creek Road, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. However, some residents have refused to leave.

The Red Cross has set up an evacuation shelter at Calvary Chapel Camarillo, 380 Mobil Ave.

Other centers have also been organized at Thousand Oaks Community Park and Malibu High School, located at 30215 Morning View Drive.

With many ranches in the area, large animals can be taken to the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

Smaller animals such as dogs and cats, can be housed at Camp Bow Wow in Agoura Hills free of charge.

The Springs Fire has damaged 15 homes, five commercial properties and destroyed 25 outbuildings, according to Cal Fire.

As of Saturday afternoon, the fire was 30 percent contained, fire officials said.  They expect full containment by late Monday.

CAMARILLO, Calif. (KTLA) — The Springs Fire in Ventura County has burned at least 28,000 acres by Friday and is just 20 percent contained, Ventura County fire officials said.

hidden-hill-fireIt has damaged 15 homes, five commercial properties and 15 outbuildings, according to Cal Fire.

Some 4,000 residences were  threatened, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate as firefighters scrambled to reposition after a 180-degree shift in the winds.

The Ventura County Fire Department said the air attack would end at sunset and the Springs fire would be attacked by ground crews.

“Barring unusual events, we do not expect to receive any new updates on the fire until tomorrow morning,” authorities said in a statement.

Earlier Friday the fire hopped PCH and was burning at a Navy Seabee target range about two miles south of Las Posas Road.

Heavy smoke forced Navy officials to evacuate 118 families from Point Mugu base to a facility at Port Hueneme.

Photos: Springs Fire

The blaze was reported around 6:45 a.m. Thursday just west of the southbound 101 near Camarillo Springs Road.

It quickly burned across the Camarillo landscape toward Newbury Park, scorching 100 acres in less than an hour.

Sky5 was overhead as flames consumed nearly half a dozen RVs in a storage parking area as well as an abandoned structure.

Several agricultural buildings also burned in the middle of a strawberry field.

By the afternoon, the fire had made its way to Point Mugu State Park on a trek toward the ocean.

It reached the coast Friday evening.

Viewer Submitted Photos: Springs Fire

An estimated 954 firefighters were battling the blaze, with more en route. They were aided by six air tankers, eight helicopters and two watertenders.

Fire Departments from across Southern California, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, the CHP and many other agencies were cooperating in the firefight.

Officials said the fire continued to burn very actively overnight, fanned by gusty northeast winds.

Firefighters spent the night cutting away brush from homes and creating containment lines to slow the fire’s spread.

EVACUATION SHELTERS

The Red Cross has established an evacuation shelter at Calvary Community Chapel, located at 380 Mobil Avenue in Camarillo.

A second shelter has been set up at Thousand Oaks Community Park, at 2525 N. Moorpark Road in Thousand Oaks.

A third Red Cross shelter is also open at Malibu High School, at 30215 Morning View Drive in Malibu.

Camp Bow Wow in Agoura Hills (101 Freeway and Kanan Road) will board small animals for free until the fire situation is resolved.Call (818) 889-CAMP for more information.

The Camarillo and Simi Valley animal shelters are also accepting small animals, according to Ventura County Animal Services.

Large animals may be brought to Ventura County Fairground. For help with large-animal evacuations, residents can call animal control at 805-388-4258.

-KTLA/Los Angeles Times

05/03/13

Wildfire Burns Dangerously Close to Homes

NEWBURY PARK, Calif. (KTLA) — In desperate efforts to save their homes, some residents in Newbury Park picked up garden hoses to spray their property until firefighters arrived.

“I was definitely scared,” resident Tyler McDermott said. “I came over here right away to make sure her animals were taken care of… I just wanted to help out.”

“I run a daycare with my mom, so I had six kids at my house, and we have a 2-year-old little girl,” said Lindsay Jensen. “Scared is putting it lightly. I was panicked, really panicked.”

Panic led one woman, desperate to protect her home, to use a garden hose against the flames.

“As long as these Eucalyptus trees don’t go up in flames, I think we’ve got a shot to save our homes right over here,” she said.

Many people voluntarily evacuated on Thursday as the so-called Springs Fire spread. Just when they felt safe returning, the fire flared up again.

“Of course, as we’re pulling in the street, the flames are huge again,” Jensen recalled.

“They would come down, everything was fine, and I would calm down. And then they’re back up again.”

But with firefighters from all over Southern California watching every wind-blown ember and potential spot fire, and with winds calming down at night, so, too, were people’s nerves.

–Carolyn Costello, KTLA News

 

 
MANY PEOPLE VOLUNTARILY EVACUATED THEIR HOMES…BUT JUST WHEN THEY FELT SAFE RETURNING..THE FIRE WOULD FLARE UP AGAIN.

10:15  “Just as I was driving back up the street…the fire flared up again.”

BUT WITH FIREFIGHTERS FROM ALL OVER SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WATCING EVERY EMBER AND POTENTIAL SPOT FIRE..AND WITH WINDS CALMING DOWN .. SO ARE MOST PEOPLE’S SHAKEY NERVES..AT LEAST IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD.

“I’ve been reading pall the trucks of where are the firefighters are from…all over..really cool to see.”

With record high temperatures and one of the driest Los Angeles winters in 135 years, officials fear Thursday’s Springs Fire in Camarillo is just a preview of what’s to come

“You can smell smoke and we are… We’re like 15 miles away now. So it’s kind of scary,” said Ashish Engineer, a Thousand Oaks resident.

According to the national weather service, Camarillo set a record high  at 96 degrees on Thursday.

Woodland Hills was still 93 degrees at 5 p.m., as 9-year-old Joseph Palacios was trying to play soccer at a local park.

“I’ve been sweating all day,” he said.

A Buena Park resident sent KTLA a picture of a thermometer measuring in at 100 degrees — from the shade of his porch.

As people cooled down any way they could, the National Weather Service said the temperatures hitting Los Angeles are what we’d typically see in July or August.

“It feels like it’s midday and it’s late in the evening already, so it feels hot. And the wind is like super high wind coming at us,” Engineer said.

“It just feels a little weird,” he remarked. “It’s tough to play sports out here.”

And it’s exceptionally dry. The L.A. Times reports that, since January 1, downtown L.A. has had less than 2 inches of rain. Eleven inches is the norm.

Mix the dry heat with the early Santa Ana winds, and one expert described it to the Times as remarkable, unusual, and incendiary.

–Christina Pascucci, KTLA News

05/03/13

RV Parking Area Reduced to Ashes in Springs Fire

As the Springs Fire burned its away around Camarillo, it torched an RV parking and storage area.

Firefighters tell KTLA 5 News that some 16 vehicles were destroyed.

“Everything in this corner was mine for the last 30 years,” Wendell Harden said pointing out what uses to be a boat, truck and two campers.

The flames reduced Harden’s mobile vacationing fun to ashes.

KTLA’s Sky 5 helicopter showed live on television as fire engulfed them.

“What’s left of it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing,” Harden said.

Eve Thomas fought back tears with her husband. From her office, she saw the RV their young kids vacation in destroyed by an inferno.

“Wow! It’s a little shocking,” Thomas said surveying the damage. “It’s tough to look at.”

Thomas has to explain to her children what this fire has taken from them, and more importantly, stress what they still have.

“We have grandma. We have each other, and luckily we weren’t here and weren’t hurt,” Thomas said.

Of the people KTLA talked to at the RV parking lot, including Harden and Thomas, everyone said they had insurance.

Now they just hope they’re covered.

Advertisement