FILLMORE (CBSLA.com) — Strong winds and dry brush helped to fuel a 170-acre brush fire in Fillmore Monday night.
As of 11:30 p.m., firefighters said the blaze hasn’t yet been contained and hundreds of homes are threatened.
Containment, however, is expected by early Tuesday morning.
Ventura County crews responded to a mobile home fire around 5 p.m. in the 1400 block of Goodenough Road, according to Mike Lindberry of the Ventura County Fire Department.
While firefighters were able to extinguish the initial blaze, the flames spread to nearby brush and citrus groves due to 30 to 40 mph winds.
Joe Diaz, a Fillmore business owner, said he witnessed the fire ignite its surroundings.
“The fire jumped up across the road on Goodenough Road and then the fire jumped up on the palm tree. Then whatever fell from the palm tree, other fires started. The winds have been so vicious, it’s the first time I’ve seen it this bad,” said Diaz.
At least two homes, along with at least one vehicle, have been scorched so far.
Shawn Decaro, who is visiting from Oregon, said his grandmother’s home was one of the structures that was badly damaged.
He told KCAL9’s Andrea Fujii that he was able to get out of the house with his grandmother, his wife, and his kids just in time.
“The palm trees in the front yard were on fire. We loaded the dogs up, loaded what we could in the cars, we were driving through flames as we were coming down the driveway. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever (been through). There was so much smoke you could hardly see,” said Decaro.
Mandatory evacuations were originally ordered for 84 homes, which adds up to about 200 residents, in the area of Foothill Drive and Arundell Circle, as well as Hunter and Morris drives.
More than 160 homes were under evacuation by the end of the night.
Resident Cathy Hernandez said, “I was told to evacuate. (The fire was) 30 feet (from my house.) (We grabbed) pictures, clothes, blankets, as much as we could.”
The Red Cross opened a shelter for residents at Veterans Memorial Building at 511 Second Street.
Authorities urged all residents to be ready to evacuate if they’re called to do so.
The Ventura County Animal Shelter responded to the area and set up accommodations to help get animals out of the way.
More than 400 personnel from several different agencies, including the Los Angeles County Fire Department, were called to help with the effort.
One aircraft was dropping water on the hot spots.
There were no reports of injuries.