Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Guiberson fire in Ventura County 20% contained, expected to grow

September 23, 2009 | 12:03 pm


The 9,700-acre Guiberson fire in Ventura County is 20% contained, but firefighters expect the blaze to grow to 10,000 acres before the day is over as it threatens oil production fields, power lines and agricultural sites, officials said today.

At a news conference, fire experts said winds have increased significantly since 9 a.m. and are up to 12 mph with gusts to 21 mph. The winds were calmer than they were at midday Tuesday when gusts of more than 50 mph were recorded.

Flying tankers attacked the flames on the western and eastern flanks of the fire, which is about five miles north of Moorpark College. The fire is threatening oil production fields and five 220-kilovolt power lines that supply Ventura and Santa Barbara with electricity, said Nick Schuler with CalFire. (A previous version of this post erroneously said an above-ground gas line was threatened.)

The fire also prompted the closure today of Moorpark College and two elementary schools, Walnut Canyon and Campus Canyon.

"We don't want these kids out, especially with those elements," said Mike Mohler, a spokesman for CalFire.

The cause of the fire, which started Tuesday, is still under investigation, but Ventura County Sheriff's Department officials have said it appeared to have been started by spontaneous combustion of manure from a local ranch.

Voluntary evacuations were issued for these areas: Moorpark College area west of Balcom Canyon Road at Bradley; Donlon Road; Solano Verde Road; Coyote Canyon Road; and Charles Street.

These roads are closed: Highway 33 between Moorpark and Fillmore; Walnut Canyon; Spring Road; Balcom Canyon Road at Bradley Road and Stockton Road; Championship Drive at Grimes Canyon Road; Highway 23 at Broadway and Barsdale Avenue and Championship; and South Mountain at Baldwin.

An evacuation shelter has been set up at the Gobel Senior Center at 1385 Janss Road in Thousand Oaks.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Moorpark

Photo: A firefighting plane is seen from a neighborhood north of Moorpark College. Planes began to make drops shortly after sunrise. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Fire300 Firemap300
Photos: California wildfires Interactive maps: Ventura | Inland Empire