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Evacuation orders lifted but Thousand Oaks brush fire continues to burn

A brush fire ignited Thursday evening in Thousand Oaks, prompting evacuations as Santa Ana winds pushed the flames toward some homes, authorities said.

The fire broke out about 5 p.m. near Erbes Road and Fernleaf Court. Whipped by winds blowing from the northeast, the fire spread from 20 acres to more than 200 in less than an hour, threatening homes and buildings downwind to the southwest, authorities said.

Fire crews had stopped the blaze’s progress by 9 p.m. at roughly 250 acres, said Scott Thomsen, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department. Firefighters will remain in the area overnight to monitor any hot spots and knock them down, he said.

No structures were burned or damaged as of 9 p.m., Thomsen said.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department had issued an evacuation order for residents who live between the 23 Freeway, Olsen Road, Erbes Road and the Bard Reservoir. The order was lifted at 8:45 p.m. and residents were allowed to return to their homes.

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Erbes Road remained closed — open only to residents — between Olsen Road and Sunset Hills Boulevard as of 9 p.m. A temporary evacuation center had been set up at the Thousand Oaks Teen Center, at 1375 E. Janss Road.

The Ventura County Fire Department dispatched 10 engines, two bulldozer crews and a helicopter to battle the flames, Thomsen said. Los Angeles City and County fire departments sent crews as well.

The National Weather Service had issued a red flag warning Thursday for the mountains and valleys of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, warning of gusts blowing out of the northeast up to 50 mph and a drop in humidity — prime fire conditions.

“This is a good reminder of what the red flag warnings are in place for,” Thomsen said. “When we have very dry conditions, any small thing can get big in a hurry.”


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