News

Brush fire breaks out near Lake Casitas

web Bob Daddi Casitas Fire
Ojai Valley News photo by Bob Daddi
A fast-moving brush fire broke out near Lake Casitas Monday afternoon.

Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News senior reporter
Firefighters are on scene of a two-alarm brush fire near Lake Casitas.
The fire, the “Casitas Incident,” was reported at 3:47 p.m. near Casitas Pass Road and Santa Ana Road. Fire crews on their way to the fire reported seeing a large head of smoke.
The fire was quickly upgraded to a second alarm.
The fire was burning in light to medium fuels, but no structures were immediately threatened, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.
Firefighters said the fire had the potential to grow to 500 acres, and their priority was the north flank of the fire.
As the fire continued to grow, VCFD stated that eight to 12 structures were potentially threatened, and the Ventura County Office of Emergency Services would be coordinating possible evacuation notices for residents in the path of the fire.
Crews said there were widely dispersed homes in the area with livestock, and firefighters were performing structure defense.
At 4:17 p.m.,Ventura County OES issued an evacuation order for the Santa Ana Creek and Cooper Canyon area north of Casitas Pass and Baldwin roads, west of Ranch Road.
More information on evacuations is available at www.vcemergency.com.
Along with units on the ground, helicopters with the Ventura County Air Unit and air tankers responded to the scene.
At approximately 4:45 p.m., the Ventura County Sheriff's Office requested that the California Highway Patrol shut down Highway 150 at the county line and possibly divert traffic to the 101 Freeway.
Highway 150 was shut down at Santa Ana Road shortly after 5 p.m.
At around 5:30 p.m., VCFD reported the fire holding at approximately 30 acres, with crews making progress from the air and ground. But less than half an hour later, they stated aerial resources overhead had more accurately mapped the fire at more than 150 acres, and the 30-acre figure was an early incident ground estimate.
Evacuations were ordered for fewer than 10 residences in the area, and VCFD was in unified command with Los Padres National Forest, officials said.
Highway 150 at Santa Ana Road was reopened at approximately 7:15 p.m. The closure at the county line was also lifted, according to the CHP.
 
This story will be updated.