UPDATE: Casitas Incident 75 Percent Contained

50-Acre Blaze Scorches Ventura, Ojai Backcountry

The Casitas Incident began Thursday afternoon in the hills above Highway 33.

[Update, 12:12 p.m., Monday]: By 8:30 p.m. Friday night, the Casitas Incident was completely contained. Ventura County firefighters stayed on scene overnight. The fire’s cause has not yet been released, said Ventura County Fire spokesperson Mike Lindbery. “[An] investigator is coordinating with CalFire, since this was technically their jurisdiction,” he said.

[Original Story] A brush fire reported just after 2 p.m. Thursday near Ventura’s Casitas Vista Road and North Ventura Avenue has burned 50 acres between Ventura and Ojai. The backcountry blaze, nicknamed the Casitas Incident, started on a hill above Highway 33, in an area about nine miles south of Ojai.

At 75 percent contained, “just over 130 firefighters [are] on scene” from four different agencies — Ventura County Fire, Santa Barbara County Fire, CalFire, and Los Padres National Forest — said

Heather Sumagaysay, public information officer for Ventura County Fire. No one has been injured, nor have any structures been threatened; Highway 33 traffic was diverted to Santa Ana Road for two hours Thursday, but fire officials aren’t asking residents to evacuate.

At 75 percent contained, the vegetation fire has burned 50 acres of land between Ventura and Ojai.

Residents at Teen Challenge, a Christian drug treatment center for young women, were evacuated Thursday evening from the center’s 143 acres in the Ventura foothills. They’ve since been allowed to return.

As of 9 a.m. Friday morning, Sumagaysay said 12 engines, five crews, one bulldozer, and two water tenders were battling the flames, the cause of which is still being investigated.

The National Weather Service predicts westward winds of 15-20 mph Friday evening on the ridge top and 6-12 mph southwestern gusts in the valley. Tonight the Casitas Springs area, where the fire burns, should see foggy, damp weather, with relative humidity hovering around 50 percent.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


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