With the Springs fire in Ventura County 60% contained, fire officials on Sunday began releasing crews deployed from across California and neighboring states to battle the 4-day-old blaze that burned large swaths of rugged mountain terrain and forced hundreds to flee their homes.
The number of fire engine companies has dropped from 247 on Saturday to 212 Sunday, said Tom Piranio, a spokesman for Cal Fire.
More than 1,800 fire personnel had been dispatched to fight the fire, which erupted on Thursday. Fire officials wanted to hit the fire hard because of the hot weather and low humidity.
But the weather changed dramatically on Sunday with cooler temperatures, low winds and rising humidity. On Sunday, light rain fell on portions of the burn area, which stretched all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Some fire crews came from as far away as Oregon, Arizona, Idaho and New Mexico. Those fire municipalities who came the longest distance were among the first released, fire officials said.
Although 15 homes were damaged in the fire, no homes were destroyed. Seven fire personnel and one civilian received minor injuries.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation but fire officials said Sunday they do not suspect arson. The fire was started by a small, "undetermined roadside ignition of grass/debris," according to Cal Fire.
The fire started at the edge of southbound Highway 101 near Thousand Oaks, about a quarter-mile north of the truck scales on the Conejo Grade, according to the state fire agency.
"The area is considered a collection point for fuels and ignition sources. Due to the topography, the fire quickly spread, fanned by strong east winds," Cal Fire said in a statement.
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