Ventura County Fires Forces Hundreds of Evacuation

Fires Devastate Ventura County in California

Fires Devastate Ventura County in California

Growing up in Los Angeles, we expected fires whenever the “Santa Ana” winds arrived.  They are winds that come from the east towards the Pacific Ocean, and they are warm, created by desert heat.  Ventura County is feeling their wrath on Thursday.

The fires increased for 10 acres to 6,500 in just five hours.  Winds of 25 mph, or more, hampered firefighters by grounding planes and helicopters for periods of time.

To further endanger the surrounding residents and firefighters, pesticides have been burned and released into the environment.  They are from the Laguna Farms property near the California State University Channel Islands campus.  Residents are being warned to stay away from the area of the fire’s smoke.

More than 500 firefighters from multiple agencies worked to protect numerous homes around Camarillo Springs Golf Course and in a section of adjacent Thousand Oaks.  Firefighters fear the blaze could burn all the way to the ocean, a distance of about 10 miles.

In a second wildfire on the other side of the Los Angeles area Thursday, firefighters are making progress against flames that consumed more than 2,950 acres in Riverside County, a fire official said.

There is no exact number of how many homes were evacuated, but Cherry Valley has been cleared, a mobile park of about 200 homes.  And some residents in Banning, a community 25 miles west of Palm Springs were told to leave as well.

The fire claimed at least one house.

Joe Kiener said his mother bought the home in 1973 and lived there until her death last month.

“I didn’t think I was going to lose the house at all,” he said Wednesday. “I just knew that the fire was coming across at a rapid speed from east to west, and I was safe at the time.”

But then the wind shifted.

“I grabbed the dog … and put him into the car,” making a quick getaway with a police escort, he said.

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

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