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Ventura County brush fire grows rapidly amid 54-mph gusts and 100-degree heat [Updated]

September 22, 2009 | 12:15 pm



Firefighters were battling a fast-moving brush fire that was burning south of Fillmore toward Moorpark.

Evacuations have been ordered north of Broadway and east of Grimes Canyon. [Udpated at 12:46 p.m.: Additional evacuations were ordered in the Happy Camp Canyon and Shekell Road areas.

Officials said numerous structures are threatened as well as power lines and agricultural areas. They are ordering that large livestock be moved out of the area in the path of the fire. Fire officials are setting up a command post in Moorpark, and the Los Angeles city Fire Department is sending resources into Ventura County.]

Firefighters were dealing with tough conditions: Temperatures topped 100 degrees at noon in Fillmore with wind gusts that topped 54 mph.

More than 100 firefighters and some water-dropping choppers were on the scene, trying to halt the fire before it moved into populated areas of Moorpark.

Ventura County fire spokesman Bill Nash said the fire is burning in grass and light brush but he was concerned that the high winds could cause problems for firefighters.

“It’s moving quickly and we are doing everything we can to keep out ahead of it,” Nash said.

The blaze broke out south of Guiberson Road near the city of Fillmore and was burning south in the direction of Moorpark. Ventura County authorities stressed that conditions could quickly change and urged residents to be aware and ready to move if necessary.

No evacuations have been ordered in the city of Moorpark, but that could change if the fire gets closer to the outskirts. Fire resources were being moved to a portion of Moorpark. 

A second brush fire was burning in Temecula. That fire had burned about five acres but was not immediately threatening homes

A red-flag warning was issued for Los Angeles County by the National Weather Service late Monday and has been extended through Thursday evening, prompting U.S. Forest Service officials to push back their containment date for the massive Station fire until the warning expires.

Firefighters today will keep a close eye on the fire as Santa Ana winds are expected late tonight. The Station fire, which is currently burning in the Mt. Wilson area of the national forest, has destroyed about 160,000 acres and was 94% contained, said Jay Nichols, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.

--Andrew Blankstein, Catherine Saillant in Ventura County and Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: Ventura County firefigter Mike Mejia putting out the approaching flames along Grimes Canyon Road in Ventura County. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times