Breezes help crews beat back flames

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first_img Little smoke was visible, a sharp contrast to Friday when a black cloud hovered over homes and flames pushed toward a neighborhood of some 200 large ridge-top residences. No evacuations were ordered, although some residents opted to leave. On Saturday, a fleet of four water-dropping helicopters and six fixed-wing planes helped ground crews. Two firefighters with minor injuries were reported. One had smoke inhalation, and the other suffered a minor eye injury. At the command post at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, a group of firefighters early Saturday were resting as hundreds of surfers 100 yards away caught 6-foot waves at the popular California Street surf spot. Full containment of the fire was expected by 6 p.m. Tuesday. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals But fire officials remained cautious because the forecast called for a return of the Santa Anas. A red flag warning – increased fire danger because of warm, dry and windy conditions – remained in effect until 6 p.m. today. The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for the area, forecasting occasional wind gusts over 40 mph into the evening. Overnight winds could exceed 50 mph. “We’re going to work feverishly to get containment,” said Joe Luna, spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department. “We are not out of the woods.” More than 1,000 firefighters battled the wildfire. Most of the activity was occurring along the southeastern front, in a rugged wilderness area away from homes. Ocean winds were blowing from the west, and fire officials were concerned the Santa Anas from the northeast could push the fire back toward town. “If they blow that way, then it could blow back into the city,” Portillo said. VENTURA – Aided by an ocean breeze, firefighters on Saturday worked to contain a 3,700-acre wildfire burning in the steep hills above town. The fire was 30 percent contained, and firefighters reduced previous acreage estimates after mapping the burn area between Ventura and Ojai. After being fanned by fierce Santa Ana winds a day earlier, the blaze calmed considerably overnight and early Saturday with the help of onshore breezes and a slight increase in humidity. “The lack of Santa Ana conditions has really allowed our crews to get a better handle on the fire,” said Gilbert Portillo with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. last_img read more