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Ventura Wildfire Largely Under Control; 11,000 Acres Burned

May 02, 1996|MARY F. POLS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

FILLMORE — The final hours of the Grand Fire wound down Wednesday with crack teams of firefighters being airlifted into rough, mountainous country to douse the remaining hot spots.

The final tally of the season's first--and unexpectedly early--wildfire was about 11,000 acres burned. Late Wednesday about 400 firefighters were still on the scene, although the fire was almost completely contained except for patches smoldering in remote areas.

"The last 20% is real ugly," said public information officer Charlie Johnson. "It's mountain goat territory."

Two experienced teams--the Los Padres Hot Shots and a group from Montana--were sent to San Cayetano Mountain in helicopters Wednesday morning, with the warning to go slow and be extremely careful.

"They were told this is not a hurry-up job," Johnson said. "This is a very dangerous job."

A crew of soil experts, hydrologists, foresters and an archeologist ventured onto the edge of the burned territory Wednesday afternoon to begin mapping the fire's environmental impact. Working with Ventura County Flood Control, the Forest Service hopes to have a report by Monday outlining what watershed rehabilitation will be needed.

"I don't think the impacts on the national forest lands are going to be too big," said group leader George Garcia, a resource officer with Los Padres National Forest. "But what does happen is going to affect the people below, the farmers and the ranchers. As they say, everything goes downhill and downstream."

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