Ojai Official Says It’s a ‘Miracle’ Town Survived Intense Firestorm

Ojai officials said it was a “miracle” that fierce Santa Ana winds had subsided on Thursday as firefighters battled wildfires that have encircled the mountain community and continued to burn largely untamed on surrounding ridgelines.

“The fire burned hard overnight on slopes about four miles north of town,” Rudy Livingston, Ojai’s finance director, said. “But fire crews with bulldozers and fire engines … were able to reduce fuel, calm the flames and keep them from coming downhill into town.”

“It was truly a miracle that the predicted fierce winds failed to materialize — we were waiting for them, but they didn’t come,“ he said. “All I can say is, ‘Thank God.’ If they had come, it would have been very ugly here.”

On Wednesday night, the Thomas fire raced westward along mountains north of town, forming an eerie bright orange line of flames several miles long. Just to the south of the city limits, fire crews were attacking smoldering hot spots with water and hand tools.

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