Springs fire: Arson not suspected, authorities say

With the Springs fire in Ventura County reported 60% contained as of Sunday morning, firefighters walk through a burned-out area of Newbury Park.
(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

The 28,000-acre Springs fire in Ventura County was started by a small, “undetermined roadside ignition of grass/debris” and not thought to be the result of arson, authorities said Sunday.

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 Cal Fire.

“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,” the state fire agency said in a statement.


At the command center near Camarillo Airport on Sunday, Ventura County Fire Capt. Scott Dettorre said, “We’re going to have this thing out by tomorrow. Probably by Monday evening.”

The 4-day-old fire was 60% contained by 7 a.m. Sunday, and Dettorre said crews have “got a good grip on this thing.”

An on-shore breeze was slowly pushing the flames northeast further into the Conejo Valley, Dettorre said, and crews were holding the line.

At its peak, the blaze threatened some 4,000 homes, authorities said. Fifteen houses were damaged but none were destroyed. Six firefighters and one civilian suffered minor injuries.

The fire erupted Thursday and quickly gained momentum, burning all the way to the Pacific Ocean. But the weather changed dramatically Saturday, with lower temperatures and high humidity helping firefighters.

At the peak of the fire, more than 1,800 fire personnel were on the scene. But late Saturday, fire officials began releasing some engine companies, which came from across California and from neighboring states, and all mandatory evacuations were lifted.

An update Sunday morning posted at the command center reported “minimal fire activity” and said “remaining firefighters continue to construct control lines, mop up operations and patrol the fire perimeter.”


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