75K Homes Under Evacuation as Southern Calif. Fire Grows


    A fire that erupted Thursday afternoon east of Chatsworth near a large former Rocketdyne facility grew to 4,000 acres Thursday night and expanded to 8,000 acres by early Friday morning in Ventura County, burning down multiple houses, threatening 30,000 homes and forcing widespread evacuations affecting 75,000 homes in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties per the Los Angeles and Ventura County Fire Departments.Initially, Bell Canyon’s Saddlebow Road between Maverick Lane and Morgan Road were evacuated, but residents of Oak Park were soon ordered out as the fire threatened the community. As the fire spread, at least 15 to 20 homes caught fire in Oak Park, visible to Newschopper4 Bravo overhead and Robert Kovacik on the ground. See How Big California’s Biggest-Ever Fire Would Be in Your City The Los Angeles Fire Department tweeted shortly before midnight that mandatory evacuations were in effect for all residents north of the 101 Freeway, south of Bell Canyon Road, west of Valley Circle Boulevard, east to city of LA limits. The LAFD later changed the city of LA mandatory evacuations to voluntary at 2:20 a.m.VCFD reported no fatalities or severe injuries as of approximately 2:30 a.m., but also stated that the fire was threatening to cross the 101 Freeway at Westlake Boulevard. Smoke and Fire From Above: Wildfire Images From Space In addition, Malibu Emergency Services announced evacuations south of the 101 Freeway between Westlake Blvd on the west, Mulholland Highway on the south and Las Virgenes on the east. At approximately 1:30 a.m. on Friday morning, Malibu Search and Rescue announced that the Malibu Lake area was also under mandatory evacuations with concern that the fire could jump the 101 Freeway.At approximately 2:40 a.m., Lake Sherwood was under voluntary evacuation orders per the Malibu Search and Rescue. What to Keep in Your Emergency Preparedness Kit For the latest evacuations, residents were urged to check the Ventura County’s Emergency Information website here.Along with assisting the growth of the fire, the high winds also deterred air support in battling the flames.The Woolsey Fire was first reported around 3:30 p.m. and by 4:45 p.m. had grown to more than 750 acres with no containment.Evacuation centers were set up at Rancho Santa Susana Recreation Center at 5005 Unit C Los Angeles Ave. in Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks Teen Center at 1375 East Janss Rd. in Thousand Oaks, Taft Charter High School at 5461 Winnetka Ave. in Woodland Hills and Pierce College in 7100 El Rancho Dr. in Woodland Hills.As a note, the Rancho Santa Susana Recreation Center is not accepting animals, and Pierce College is accepting large animals.In addition, several school districts announced school closures related to the two fires burning in Ventura County:Conejo Valley Unified School District• All CVUSD SchoolsOak Park Unified School District• All OPUSD SchoolsOxnard Union High School District• Adolfo Camarillo High School• Frontier High School• Rancho Campana High SchoolVentura County Office of Education• Gateway Community School • La Mariposa Elementary School • Las Colinas Middle School• Phoenix Los Noglaes• Phoenix School – Camarillo Airport• Pleasant Valley Early Childhood CenterLas Virgenes Unified School District• All LVUSD Schools• Viewpoint SchoolThe Hill Fire burned just five miles away in Newbury Park, forcing more than 1,200 homes to evacuate and prompting the closure of the 101 Freeway. For coverage of that fire, click here. This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.Photo Credit: Susan Monroe