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New evacuations in Springs fire as blaze grows to 8,000 acres

May 02, 2013|By Robert J. Lopez and Marisa Gerber

New evacuation orders were issued Thursday night  for residents in canyon areas as a brush fire raging out of control in Ventura County grew to 8,000 acres and was about a mile from the Pacific Ocean, officials said.

The Springs fire forced authorities to issue evacuation orders in La Jolla Canyon, Broome Canyon and Sycamore Canyon, the Ventura County Fire Department said.

Thick clouds of smoke were blowing west across Pacific Coast Highway, which was closed Thursday night between Yerba Buena and Las Posas roads. Yerba Buena was also closed at Deer Creek Road, officials said.

A spokeswoman at the Ventura County Naval Base said officials there expected flames to reach the ocean somewhere between Point Mugu and the border with Los Angeles County.

 Massive walls of flame were devouring thick brush that had not burned in years in Point Magu State Park, fire officials said.

"We have fast-moving, erratic conditions," firefighter Bill Thomas of the Ventura County Fire Department told The Times.

Shifting winds Thursday evening created swirling gusts that were causing spot fires and caused dangerous conditions for firefighters battling a brush fire that had charred more than 8,000 acres in Ventura County.

"One minute you're fighting the fire with the wind at your back. Then it shifts and the fire is coming right at you," Thomas said.

The wind swirls were whipping up embers that were blowing past the fire front and igniting smaller fires, fire officials said.

Earlier in the day, strong Santa Ana winds grounded fixed-wing aircraft. But as the Santa Ana winds subsided Thursday evening, five aircraft resumed water and fire-retardant drops on the blaze. 

The winds Thursday evening near Camarillo had reversed and were blowing out of the west at 13 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Relative humidity, which was in the single digits earlier in the day, had increased to 25%.

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Twitter: @LAJourno

robert.lopez@latimes.com

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