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California wildfire: Air attack to resume as fire rages

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The air attack against a wildfire that has burned through more than 10,000 acres in Ventura County will resume at sunrise, state and county fire officials said Friday.

The Springs fire, which began before 7 a.m. Thursday south of the 101 Freeway in Camarillo, has reached Pacific Coast Highway and threatens 2,000 homes, 100 businesses and more than a dozen other buildings.

Hundreds of residents in Sycamore Canyon, La Jolla Canyon and Broome Ranch have been forced to evacuate.

PHOTOS: Springs fire

The Ventura County Fire Department said the blaze has damaged 15 buildings and is 10% contained.

Since the fire began the weather has been working against emergency responders. The dry air and hot wind pushed the fire deeper into the Ventura County mountains where brush hadn’t burned for decades. The wind pushed the fire toward the the ocean, where it's expected to shift to an inland breeze. It was unclear Friday morning if the wind had pushed the fire deeper into the brush or slowed the fire’s progress.

About 925 firefighters from across the state are battling the blaze, with “many, many more” on the way to relieve them, said Ventura County fire spokesman Bill Nash.

Firefighters spent the night cutting away brush from homes and creating containment lines to slow the fire’s spread.

Firefighters were using controlled burns late Thursday night to prevent flames from turning back toward homes in Ventura County.

Late Thursday, firefighters were igniting unburned brush along a jagged front in the Santa Monica Mountains south of Potrero Road, officials said.

The area was adjacent to a zone that had been scorched earlier in the day as the Springs fire was fanned by powerful Santa Ana winds.

Crews were also lighting backfires in the Dos Vientos area, hoping to make some headway before warm weather and high winds resume Friday. 

"It's hot, dirty, unglamorous work right now," Nash told reporters.

But to some, it was also unnecessary.

PHOTOS: Springs fire

Ed and Kate Cruz were among the many gawkers drawn by the backfire in the mountains. The family lives nearby and hikes there multiple times a week. So, for them, watching the controlled burn was like watching a favorite treehouse burn.

“Picnic oak," Kate said, in reference to "an oak tree we like that goes perfectly over a picnic table. It’s just beautiful. Beautiful birds, owls, wolves.

"It’s a sad day.”

Her husband was more blunt.

“This place is going to be a lunar landscape tomorrow morning,” Ed Cruz said. "Making the backfire this big -- they will burn the entire canyon." 

ALSO:

Earthquake: 3.1 quake strikes near Shandon

In the dark of night, glowing backfire draws a crowd

California wildfires: Evacuated residents wait for word

 

Joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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