Fire officials expect a southern California wildfire to spread Friday, fueled by continuing Santa Ana winds. They are resuming overflights to drop flame retardant, but urge area residents to be prepared to evacuate.
A southern California wildfire threatened more than 3,000 homes and forced the evacuation of a university on Thursday, burning more than 10,000 acres as it spread down the Pacific Coast.
The Springs Fire was 10 percent contained as of Friday morning, but the Santa Ana winds and extremely dry climate are expected to cause the blaze to grow, said Ventura County Fire Capt. Bill Nash. Six air tankers, which drop thousands of gallons of flame retardant, will resume flights Friday morning after being grounded Thursday because of high winds and radiant heat.
"We've got hot, dirty, unglamorous firefighting work going on right now, guys with shovels trying to scratch out lines on the ground," Captain Nash told NBC News early Friday. "We've got those guys on these steep hillsides in the dark with nothing but the light of the fire and a flashlight."
The fire broke out Thursday morning along US Highway 101 near the city of Camarillo, 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles. There have been no reported injuries related to the fire, but 15 homes were damaged Thursday. California State University at Channel Islands in Camarillo allowed on-campus residents to return Friday, but cancelled all classes.
"Where it's burning right now, the population is mostly ranches and camps and rural-type properties," Nash said. "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."
An outbreak of wildfires in California has marked an early start for fire season, which usually begins in mid-June, fire officials say.