Firefighters Report Good Progress on California's Ventura Wildfire

MOORPARK, Calif., Sept. 24 (UPI) — Firefighters reported “good progress” Thursday against a wildfire that has consumed 16,400 acres in Ventura County west of Los Angeles.

Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Bill Nash said lower temperatures, diminished winds and higher humidity helped firefighters gain ground on the Guiberson Fire, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

“The mood right now is optimistic,” he said. “We have an army of firefighters out there and they have been working really hard … . We are making really good progress.”

Officials said the fire was 40 percent contained early Thursday and they expected it would be fully contained by Saturday.

Officials said 75 residential structures and 10 commercial properties were threatened, and two outbuildings had been destroyed, as of Thursday afternoon. Eight firefighters have been treated for minor injuries.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in Ventura County, where firefighting costs already topped $1 million, officials said.

All mandatory evacuation orders in the area were lifted. The 15,000-student Moorpark College was re-opened Thursday after being closed Wednesday because of its proximity to the fire.

Fire officials said they believe the Guiberson fire was ignited Tuesday by spontaneous combustion of manure at a local ranch and spread quickly because of the region’s strong Santa Ana winds.

Firefighters reported a brush fire in Murrieta was 75 percent contained late Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported. The fire was reported just before noon and had burned 25 acres within three hours.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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