250-acre brush fire burns near homes in Thousand Oaks; evacuation orders lifted

Local news

Evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes Thursday night as firefighters continued to battle a wind-driven brush fire burning near homes in Thousand Oaks.

The blaze, dubbed the Erbes Fire, erupted on the north side of Erbes Road near Sunset Hills Boulevard shortly after 5 p.m., according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

It then exploded to 250 acres by 6:25 p.m. But at about 8 p.m., firefighters said the fire’s forward progress had been stopped.

Evacuation orders had been issued for several streets east of the 23 Freeway, which drivers were told to avoid. But at about 8:40 p.m., authorities said all evacuations were lifted and residents could return home.

Erbes Road remained open to residents only from Sunset Hills Boulevard to Olsen Road

Visit www.vcemergency.com for official updates on evacuation orders.

The flames were being fanned by strong winds, threatening nearby structures as the fire pushed forward.

Aerial video from Sky5 showed flames raging just across the roadway from some homes as firefighters attacked the fire from the ground and the air.

Fire officials said crews were making great progress battling the flames as they built containment lines around most of the fire. Firefighters were expected to remain on scene overnight.

It’s unclear what ignited the blaze. There were no reports of injuries or structures destroyed in the fire as of 7:30 p.m.

Erbes Road was closed between Olsen Road and Sunset Hills Boulevard to make room for fire crews working in the area. 

A temporary evacuation site was set up at the Thousand Oaks Teen Center on 1375 E. Janss Road.

The National Weather Service described the Erbes Fire as being a “dangerous fire.”

The blaze erupted amid warm, dry, windy conditions causing elevated to critical fire weather throughout Southern California.

Forecasters had warned the conditions would descend Thursday evening on mountain and valley areas in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, with northeast winds gusting at 30-50 mph.

Gusts topped 50 mph at Boney Mountain, while 91-degree heat in Camarillo shattered the city’s temperature record for Jan. 14, according to the weather service.

That figure made Camarillo one of the hottest places in the U.S. Thursday, NWS said.

Forecasters say more heat records could be broken Friday as offshore winds continue.

Near the fire Thursday evening, the temperature was 77 degrees with relative humidity of 17%. Northeast winds were blowing at about 7 mph, with gusts up to 21 mph, NWS said.

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