CAMARILLO (CBSLA.com) — A change in weather has helped crews battling the Springs Fire which has scorched 28,000 acres in Ventura County.
Rising humidity, lighter winds and cooler temperatures helped to calm the fire Friday night, after a day that saw 100-150 foot flames, power lines set ablaze, and a funnel cloud of dust and smoke.
As crews continued to fight the flames Saturday, officials announced that a DC-10 aircraft would be available later in the day if needed. According to Cal Fire, “The DC-10 firefighting aircraft are fitted with three external tanks that are mounted along the centerline of the plane. Together, the tanks hold 50 tons of water or retardant. The tanker can drop as much as 12,000 U.S. gallons of retardant in as little as eight seconds through its computerized gravity fed water dump system.”
All evacuations in the Newbury Park and Camarillo areas have been lifted.
The American Red Cross serving Ventura County announced they would close the following shelters at 4:00pm: Calvary Chapel Camarillo and Thousand Oaks Community Center. The shelter at Malibu High School will remain open until further notice.
Pacific Coast Highway reopened and motorists are advised to use caution due to potential rock slides in the area and movement of fire equipment along the highway.
The 101 Freeway also is open in both directions.
Potrero Road between Newbury Park and Cal State Channel Islands was reopened Saturday. Motorists should use caution as fire fighting equipment will still be moving through that area.
Potrero Road remains closed between Reino Road and Hidden Valley Road. Residents of Hidden Valley can get back to their homes with identification.
The blaze started Thursday near the 101 Freeway in Camarillo and has destroyed more than 43 square miles of brush.
The fire flared again just after noon Friday when offshore winds shifted back on-shore.
A significant decrease in plumes of smoke was reported by sundown Friday and air attacks were suspended for the night.
Firefighters remain focused Friday on the Hidden Valley area near Yerba Buena Road north of Malibu.
Crews set backfires on Wendy and Potrero Road, and residents were warned by reverse 911 calls to expect smoke as firefighters eliminate unburned fuel. The change in weather made setting backfires more difficult because of the cooler conditions.
Bill Thomas of the Los Angeles Fire Department said resources have poured in and firefighters are well equipped, employing engines, aircraft and bulldozers. A reported 1,900 fire personnel from across California have traveled to the Southland.
Thomas said crews are pleased with the level of containment but that changes in weather or wind can change the percentage of the fire that is contained. That proved the case when Friday night’s climate shift helped bring containment up from 20 percent.
“But with the amount of resources we have, now we have the ability to take more people out there and dump as much we can out there, and really improve on that line” to contain more of the fire.
Newbury Park residents said they were grateful to the firefighters who helped save the area’s ranch homes and horses.
“They have been phenomenal,” said one resident. “Throughout yesterday they saved our entire community, not one home burned.”
“We just want to show love and support to them and be there for them, even if it’s something as simple as a water bottle,” one resident said, who with a friend brought water to the firefighters.
Authorities are reportedly hoping to have the fire fully contained by Monday.