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River Bottom Fire Consumes 5 Acres

November 11, 2000|KATIE COOPER

A brush fire fueled by dry vegetation burned five acres in the Santa Clara River bottom Friday night.

The blaze was contained by about 9:15 p.m., officials said.

The fire, which began shortly after 6 p.m. near the Ventura River bridge, not far from the Century 16 theaters on Johnson Drive, burned out of control for more than three hours because of heavy terrain and highly flammable eucalyptuses along the river banks, officials said.

Firefighting efforts were also initially hampered by strong winds.

Officials said the theaters were never threatened but added that they planned to keep personnel on the scene through the night.

Because of its location, the fire brought responses from Oxnard and Ventura as well as the county Fire Department. Eight engines, two hand crews and a water tender were on the scene at one point.

Earlier Friday, the county Fire Department, citing recent rain and the prediction of more on the way, announced it will bring an end Monday to this year's fire season.

Fire officials say a major fire is unlikely in the next few months, but warn that winds and dry brush could still be a danger. Officials were not prepared to call an end to fire season at the end of last month, but there has been enough moisture in the interim to make such a declaration, they said.

Since the mild fire season began in June, the county Fire Department reported 44 wildfires, with the largest an 800-acre blaze in Calabasas in June, officials said.

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