174-acre Santa Paula brush fire sparked by large tree that fell onto power line, fire officials say

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Firefighters battled a brush fire in Santa Paula sparked by a downed tree that fell onto a power line and fueled by powerful winds on Monday.

The blaze, dubbed the Cornell Fire, was reported just after 11:45 a.m. at a river bottom near the Santa Paula Airport and was surrounded by open fields, the Ventura County Fire Department reported.

An evacuation warning was issued for the area surrounding Todd Road and Shell Road as the fire grew to about 174 acres at about 1:45 p.m.

About 200 firefighters responded to the fire and were met with “strong winds, thick brush and piles of mulch and wood.”

Fire officials requested that the California Highway Patrol close Highway 126 at Briggs and Wells roads because of fire and smoke in the area.

At about 5 p.m., forward progress on the fire was stopped. There was 0% containment Monday night, with 20% containment expected by Tuesday morning, fire officials said in a tweet.

The cause of the fire was determined to be a large tree that was blown over into a power line, fire officials reported.

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