Massive California Wildfire Closes Pacific Coast Highway, Forces Evacuations As It Spreads Toward Malibu
A massive brush-fueled wildfire that ignited in the early hours of Thursday morning near Camarillo Springs, CA has spread through nearly 10,000 acres of land in Ventura County and is now threatening to make its way to the upscale city of Malibu.
According to reports, more than 2,000 homes and 100 businesses were under threat of the fire on Thursday and that number is expected to continue to grow on Friday. As of today, 15 homes have sustained fire damage.
"Where it's burning right now, the population is mostly ranches and camps and rural-type properties," Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Bill Nash told NBC News. "But it doesn't have to go very far to get to some expensive homes and more populated areas...It came out literally on the beach and now it's essentially burning down the mountainside toward Malibu."
The blaze, which has been dubbed the "Springs Fire" is currently only 10 percent contained, according to reports. It has forced evacuations of residents living in Sycamore Canyon, La Jolla Canyon and Broome Ranch. Additionally, the Ventura County Fire Department evacuated on Thursday California State University-Channel Islands and has dispatched 20 fire trucks in a pre-emptive move to protect the buildings and apartments on campus.
Firefighters from across the state have been battling the blaze, according to a Ventura County Fire Department spokesman. Approximately 925 firefighters are currently working to put out the spreading inferno, with "many, many more on the way to relieve them."
The Springs Fire is being fueled as it grows ever larger by high temperatures, extremely dry vegetation in the area and strong Santa Ana winds. These desert winds were sustained at up to 40 miles per hour on Thursday and are expected to continue to blow on Friday, though officials expect wind speed to decrease some.
"This is the problem we have: high winds, high temperatures, low humidities, plus the [vegetation] fuels that have been suffering from the drought we've had this winter," Ventura County fire spokesman Tom Krushke told reporters. "This all adds up to a perfect storm for a wildfire."
The Springs Fire has reached the Pacific Coast Highway, forcing road closures between Las Posas and Yerba Buena, Yerba Buena Road and Deer Creek Road.
The cause of the Springs Fire remains under investigation as of Friday, according to Nash.
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