CAMARILLO — A Ventura County fire that blackened more than 10,000 acres of brush on mountain hillsides north of here was contained Tuesday afternoon, and fire officials said they expect the blaze to be fully controlled by today.
The fire was ignited Monday morning by a downed power line on the southern slope of 2,200-foot South Mountain, which separates the cities of Camarillo and Santa Paula, said Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Dan Spykerman.
Although the fire at one point Monday threatened more than 50 homes on the southern slopes of the mountain, there were no buildings burned and no reported injuries as of late Tuesday, Spykerman said. Several ranchers in the area reported minor losses to citrus and avocado groves in the fire, which was the largest Ventura County fire this year, he said.
On Monday, the fire burned to within feet of mountaintop communications towers, throwing KTIE-TV, an Oxnard station, off the air. The station remained off the air Tuesday to all but a few cable customers.
About 5,000 Storer Cable subscribers in Santa Paula were without service Tuesday after the fire melted 2 1/2 miles of the company's main cable on the mountainside, said Roger Terneuzen, Storer operations manager.
The fire, whipped by Santa Ana winds of up to 50 m.p.h. on Monday, moved rapidly to the western end of South Mountain and then "had no place to go," Spykerman said. South Mountain is surrounded on three sides by large agricultural tracts.
On the north side, the fire reached the floor of the Las Posas Valley and at some points burned to the Santa Clara River.
By Tuesday afternoon, the winds had died down to between 18 and 22 m.p.h., enabling firefighters to contain the blaze, Spykerman said.
More than 700 Ventura County firefighters, split into two shifts, worked through the night to control the blaze. Fire crews from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the state Department of Forestry also assisted.
Meanwhile, in Northern California, U.S. Forest Service officials said a 2,285-acre brush fire in the Los Padres National Forest near Carmel was 97% contained.