Lime fire burns 450 acres in Ventura County hills as firefighters try to gain the upper hand
A brush fire burning in the hills surrounding Lake Piru in Ventura County grew to 450 acres early Thursday as fire officials continue to build containment lines around the blaze.
The blaze, dubbed the Lime fire, broke out near Lime Canyon off Piru Canyon Road around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday amid high temperatures and low humidity. The fire quickly charred through hundreds of acres of dry brush in the surrounding area, prompting officials to evacuate portions of the Lake Piru region, including the campgrounds and properties along Piru Canyon from Piru Lake to Orchard Road.
“It’s very steep and challenging terrain,” said engineer Mike Des Forges, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.
About 25 structures, including a few homes and U.S. Forest Service buildings, are threatened by the fire. No properties have been damaged. As of 8 a.m., the fire was 20% contained.
Two firefighters battling the blaze were removed from duty after suffering from general illness and exhaustion late Wednesday, Des Forges said.
Roughly 250 fire personnel, including a water tender, six hand crews and two dozers, were working to gain an upper hand on the blaze Thursday.
Firefighters made significant progress overnight on a second blaze, dubbed the Elizabeth fire, which broke out Wednesday morning.
As of 8 a.m. Thursday, the fire had burned 275 acres in a remote canyon between Ventura and Santa Paula, but firefighters had boosted containment to 70%.
Dozens of firefighters were moved from the Elizabeth fire to the Lime fire Wednesday afternoon because of the threat to structures in the Lake Piru area. However, roughly 130 firefighters remain working to contain the Elizabeth fire.
Authorities are investigating what sparked both fires.
Fire crews’ efforts to build and improve containment lines comes as temperatures across the region continue to linger in the low to mid-90s.
Humidity levels in the fire area are expected to stay relatively low, lingering between 12% and 16% for much of the day. Light winds are also expected throughout the day, with gusts up to 20 mph forecast for the afternoon, said Joe Sirard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
“The hot temperatures and low humidity would help the fire to spread without any mitigation, though not as rapidly as it would if there were strong winds,” Sirard said. “I’m sure firefighters are working hard to get this under control.”
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