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Small brush fire breaks out near Thousand Oaks [Updated]

October 4, 2009 |  1:02 pm

A brush fire has broken out today in Ventura County, but no homes are in immediate danger.

The fire is burning near Thousand Oaks south of U.S. 101 near California 23 and Rancho Road. About four acres have burned.

Fire Capt. Ron Oatman told the Associated Press that the blaze was burning in “open space.”

[Updated at 1:05 p.m.: Oatman told The Times that no homes were threatened and no evacuations had been ordered. He said the fire was burning south of the 101 at Rancho Road and north of Potrero Road, in an area of open space between Thousand Oaks and Hidden Valley.

Oatman said two water-dropping helicopters and one air tanker were on scene, in addition to numerous fire engines. Two more helicopters are on the way as well as three additional air tankers.

Cooler temperatures are in the firefighters’ favor, Oatman said, but the winds are gusting up to 20 mph in the area.]

[Updated at 2:50 p.m.: The blaze is now about 20 to 25 acres and 60% contained. It is burning in a grassy area with medium to heavy chaparral south of the 101 Freeway and north of Potrero Road.

Fire officials are confident that no homes will burn, because the county has strictly enforced wide clearance limits around nearby houses, which are primarily larger horse-keeping properties. The blaze is, however, threatening a popular hiking trail, Los Robles Trail.

There have been no evacuations, though some residents nearby have been warned that they should prepare just in case.

About 400 firefighters have been deployed, but the blaze is not reachable on the ground, so helicopters and at least one air tanker have been bombarding flames hard with water drops.]

-- Catherine Saillant and wire service reports