A strong Santa Ana wind is fueling the fast-growing Springs fire in Camarillo and Newbury Park, where numerous motor homes were destroyed and hundreds of homes are threatened.
Evacuations have been ordered for the Dos Vientos neighborhood of Newbury Park and the Camarillo Springs area of Camarillo. Officials of nearby Cal State Channel Islands said in a tweet Thursday morning that classes and activities had been canceled because of the fire. Students who live on campus were told to contact their housing staff for more information.
The blaze has scorched 2,000 acres in a valley between between Camarillo and Newbury Park. In addition to numerous motor homes burning in a parking lot, video footage from KTLA showed a flareup near one home.
Stuart Seto, a specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, said humidity had dropped significantly in the area – “from 80% down into the teens, and they’re getting lower.” That, coupled with “extreme” wind gusts, would likely make Thursday “the worst day as far as the fires,” Seto said.
“This is really dry,” he said. “The fire in Camarillo Springs really jumped up from nothing to 100 acres in no time at all.”
Winds are blowing southwest directly toward the homes at a sustained 26 mph, Seto said, with peak wind at 47 mph.
Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Bill Nash said the combination of wind and hot temperatures were a "perfect recipe for a fire."
"We advise anybody in the area to be prepared. Wildfires are very unpredictable -- we don't know what direction it's going to go," Nash said. "We really want people to be prepared. It's better to do it now before a sheriff's deputy is knocking on your door."
The Red Cross has set up evacuation centers at the Thousand Oaks Community Park, 2525 N. Moorpark Road, and Camarillo's Calvary Communtiy Chapel, 380 Mobil Ave.
The fire flared about 6:30 a.m. along the Conejo Grade of the freeway, near hundreds of homes. Firefighters from Ventura County, Cal Fire, and the cities of Ventura and Oxnard were “all on the ground right now trying to get ahead of this thing," Nash said.
The Sheriff’s Department said at least one southbound lane of the 101 Freeway was closed along with Old Conejo Road at Reino Road. The California Highway Patrol reported heavy traffic on both sides of the freeway.
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