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Fillmore fire burns 170 acres; thousands still without power

April 08, 2013|By Robert J. Lopez
  • A Ventura County Fire Department helicopter drops water onto a hot spot as night falls in Fillmore.
A Ventura County Fire Department helicopter drops water onto a hot spot… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

A brush fire whipped by powerful winds charred about 170 acres in Fillmore on Monday night and burned at least two structures, officials said.

The blaze burned on a day when winds up to 50 mph battered Southern California and left thousands of people from Lancaster to Pomona without power.

About 400 firefighters from several jurisdictions were battling the Fillmore blaze, which forced authorities to order about 200 people to evacuate their homes as flames burned palm trees and thick mountainside vegetation.

Earlier in the day, helicopters made repeated water drops, but air operations were halted after darkness descended.

PHOTOS: Fillmore brush fire threatens homes

No injuries were reported.

Fire officials said they were hoping to take advantage of a lull in the winds, which were blowing up to 30 mph earlier in the evening.

"The winds have died, and we're going to use the opportunity to move in and knock down the fire," Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Mike Lindbery told The Times.

He said crews would continue firefighting operations throughout the night.

About 84 homes were ordered to be evacuated in an area north of the 900 block of Central Avenue in Fillmore, said Capt. Dave Wareham of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

The affected homes were on streets that included Foothill Road,  Arundell Circle and Hunter Drive. 

Wareham said that residents were being notified via a reverse 911-system and were being told they could seek shelter at the Fillmore Veterans Memorial Building at 511 2nd Street. 

The blaze, which was sparked by a down power line, initially burned a mobile home about 4:30 p.m. in the 1400 block of Goodenough Road and then spread to nearby brush and began burning uphill.

As of Monday evening, about 1,800 people were without power in cities served by Southern California Edison, the utility said. In Los Angeles, about 13,000 people were without power in Koreatown, Mid-Wilshire and the San Fernando Valley, the Department of Water and Power said.

More than 30 crews were working to restore power, a utility spokeswoman said. 

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Twitter: @LAJourno

robert.lopez@latimes.com

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