Firefighters managed to get 30% containment of the massive Maria Fire after it burned through more than a dozen square miles within a day, authorities said Saturday.
The wildfire burned 9,412 acres as it threatened thousands of homes in Eastern Ventura, Santa Paula, Somis and Camarillo, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. Some evacuations orders were lifted Friday night, when authorities said it was 10,700 acres and 0% contained.
“We are looking to start letting residents return to their homes shortly,” said Mike Desforges, a spokesman for VCFD, on Saturday morning.
He did not specify when evacuation orders would be lifted but said no additional orders were issued overnight.
The Maria Fire has destroyed at least three structures and on Friday night threatened some 2,700 others, authorities said. It erupted on South Mountain during the tail end of a Santa Ana wind event that put Southern California authorities on high alert.
Dangerous dry weather was expected to continue into a fourth day as red flag warnings were extended in the region until 6 p.m. Saturday.
As a precaution to prevent fires, Southern California Edison announced power was being shut off for 180 customers in Camarillo and Fillmore as well as unincorporated areas of El Rio, Camarillo, Keith Oak Village, Santa Susana Mountains, Sespe Village and Somis.
More than 1,300 firefighters battled the massive wildfire as it was driven by strong winds. While its cause remains under investigation, SoCal Edison admitted Friday that it had re-energized a 16,000-volt power line minutes before the fire broke out.
VCFD Captain Steve Kaufmann said the “right shoulder” of the wildfire was particularly problematic as steep terrain and oil fields complicated firefighting efforts on Friday.
He said authorities are “cautiously optimistic” about their ongoing efforts.
Mandatory Evacuations — Santa Paula
- North boundary: Highway 126
- West boundary: east of Campanula Avenue
- East boundary: south of 12th Street and South Mountain Road
- South boundary: Santa Clara River
Evacuation orders have been lifted for areas north of the 118 Freeway (West Los Angeles Avenue) and east of Pacific Milling Road, west of Bradley Road and south of West La Loma Avenue. The following roads in Somis, all within the Saticoy Country Club, are included: Club House Drive, Northridge Drive, Skywalker Drive, La Vista Avenue, Center Road, Walnut Avenue, Milligan Barranca Road, Price Road, Hondo Ranch Road, Aggen Road, Berylwood Road and East La Loma Avenue.
Ventura County authorities said no overnight evacuation shelters will remain opened past Saturday.
A stretch of South Mountain Road between 12th Street and Balcom Canyon was still shut down as firefighting efforts continued.
The Ventura County Office of Education said officials would monitor the fire and air quality conditions to decide if schools will be closed Monday. Any new information on the possible closures can be found here.
KTLA’s Derrick Clemons contributed to this report.