SIMI VALLEY (CBSLA) — Amid powerful Santa Ana winds, quick-thinking firefighters quickly contained a 105-acre brush fire which erupted Monday morning off the 118 Freeway on the eastern end of Simi Valley, northwest of Chatsworth.
The Peak Fire broke out in the Corriganville area sometime before 10 a.m., just south of the 118 Freeway. The blaze threatened structures in the area of Smith Road, officials said at an 11 a.m. news conference.
The hillside behind homes off Kuehner Drive became completely engulfed in flames and smoke so quickly that residents told CBS2 they did not even have time to receive the evacuation order before they jumped into action and began self-evacuating, knocking on neighbors’ homes and packing up, preparing to leave.
My neighbor came and banged on the door and told us the fire was up behind the park,” one woman said. “We’ve been evacuated before, so we started getting suitcases packed and loading the valuables into the car. And then we threw some of the stuff from the backyard into the pool so that it wouldn’t catch fire… We have my parents, they are 91 and 85, and we have them relaxing and keeping them as calm as we can until we get an order.”
An evacuation was ordered in the unincorporated L.A. County areas of Box Canyon and Lake Manor, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department reported.
The 118 Freeway was initially shut down in both directions in Simi Valley, California Highway Patrol reported. However, the westbound side reopened at around 12:30 p.m. The eastbound side remained closed at Yosemite Avenue. Drivers should avoid the area and instead use the 126 or the 101 freeways.
Los Angeles County, city and Ventura County fire departments responded with an air and ground attack. At around 12:40 p.m., VCFD reported that forward progress had been stopped at 105 acres and crews were working to mop-up and monitor for hot spots.
There were no reports of any damage or injuries. The cause is under investigation.
On Nov. 8, the Woolsey Fire broke out in Simi Valley and scorched more than 90,000 acres in several neighboring cities, including Thousand Oaks and Malibu. As of Monday, it has destroyed at least 370 structures and is only 20 percent contained.
VCFD initially named the Peak Fire the “Rocky Fire,” because officials incorrectly reported that it had broken out at Rocky Peak.