A fast-moving brush fire in a rugged part of the Los Padres National Forest scorched 500 acres in a matter of hours about 12 miles north of Ojai on Friday, and firefighters were struggling to contain the flames, authorities said.
The blaze raged through scrubby, mountainous terrain in Ventura County making tough work for 300 firefighters, U.S. Forest Service Fire Information Officer Susan Mockenhaupt said.
Two helicopters used to battle the fire had to contend with fierce gusts of wind through the canyons. Mockenhaupt said three air tankers were assigned to join the fight today.
Although the blaze caused no injuries and threatened no structures, Mockenhaupt said damage was severe to what she called "a very pretty area" covered with sagebrush and pine.