All evacuation orders that affected more than 25,000 residents in the Simi Valley area have been lifted a day after the Easy Fire erupted and charred hills near homes and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, officials said Thursday.
Roads that were shut down have reopened except Tierra Rejada Road from Highway 23 to Mandan Place, which were only accessible to residents as of Thursday morning.
The 1,806 -acre Easy Fire destroyed at least two structures and threatened 7,000 residences at one point, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. It was 60% contained as of 7 p.m.
— KTLA (@KTLA) October 31, 2019
The blaze ignited where a Southern California Edison power line had not been deactivated amid dangerous fire weather, the utility said.
The cause of the Easy Fire is still under investigation. But as required, Edison notified state regulators that its equipment may have been involved, according to company spokesman Robert Laffoon-Villegas.
He said SCE learned that flames broke out around 6:10 a.m. Wednesday near Easy Street and Los Angeles Avenue.
Footage from a camera at a commercial building nearby captured what appeared to be a flash from a power line at around 6:07 a.m. Seconds later, flames ignited and quickly spread up the hill.
One of the utility’s sub-transmission lines was active in that location at the time, Laffoon-Villegas said, and it was not part of preemptive power cuts imposed by Edison during “extreme red flag warning conditions” in recent days.
“SCE is conducting a review into the circumstances surrounding the fire, and will cooperate with all investigations into the origin and cause of the fire,” Laffoon-Villegas said. “The company’s top priority is the safety of customers, employees and communities, which is why we continue to enhance our wildfire mitigation efforts through grid hardening, situational awareness and enhanced operational practices.”
Three firefighters were hurt in the incident, but the Fire Department did not specify the extent of their injuries.
The Reagan library, which narrowly escaped the flames, said it plans to reopen to the public Friday.
“The smell of smoke is everywhere, and we are tired, but we are also grateful,” Melissa Giller, the library’s spokesperson, said in a statement.
A red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service that was set to be lifted at 6 p.m. Thursday may be extended through Friday for Los Angeles County. Winds will gust between 40 to 60 mph with humidities expected to drop as low as 1 to 2%, according to forecasters.
Many schools in the area had already canceled class for the day.
Schools to reopen Friday
Dozens of schools were closed across the area Thursday, but classes at all classes will campuses will resume as normal Friday, according to the Ventura County Office of Education.
Officials noted that several districts and schools had already scheduled staff development days for Nov. 1, so parents should check their school’s calendar.