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Santa Ana Winds Return, Fan Fire in Santa Barbara County

October 18, 1998|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT

Santa Ana winds whipped through Ventura County on Saturday, bending trees, sending debris onto roadways and fanning smoke from a major forest fire in Santa Barbara over Ventura.

An advisory warning of 30- to 35-mph winds had been in effect throughout the county between 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday, said meteorologist Bill Hoffer of the National Weather Service office in Oxnard.

"This time of year, pretty much through November, you can look for Santa Ana conditions," Hoffer said. "In fact, this is quite normal. If this didn't happen, I'd be worried."

High temperatures today were expected to be in the mid-80s with lows in the 40s, Hoffer said. Monday was expected to be slightly cooler, with highs in the low 80s and lows again in the 40s.

Wind didn't hamper efforts to put out a small spot fire in Thousand Oaks that was reported about 1 p.m. near Lynn and Ventu Park roads, but breezes were a big factor in a major blaze in Los Padres National Forest.

The fire started on a private ranch 12 miles north of Santa Barbara about 4 p.m. Friday and had grown to approximately 1,000 acres by Saturday afternoon. The fire still had not been contained by Saturday night, and more than 300 firefighters, including a helicopter pilot from Ventura County, remained on scene.

The fire started on the Ogilvy Ranch when a tractor pulling a mower hit a rock and ignited grass, said Gary Wuchner, a firefighter who traveled from Orange County to battle the flames.

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