Southwest California : Fire Approaching Homes

In southwest California firefighters continued to battle a fire that ripped through the hills and rugged canyons of Ventura County. The fire threatened hundreds of homes. prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare a state of emergency.

Strong wind, grass and light brush are fueling the Guiberson fire in southwest California.

By late Tuesday, firefighters -- 600 strong -- had contained 10 percent of the blaze as lashing flames ravaged 8,500 acres.

The Guiberson fire, as it was named, broke out Tuesday morning between the towns of Fillmore and Moorpark.

By nightfall, the fire had destroyed two outbuildings and threatened 1,000 structures, the county fire department said. Two firefighters were hurt, both suffering heat- and smoke-related injuries.

Authorities ordered the evacuation of 500 to 600 homes in the communities of Meridian Hills and Bardsdale, just south of Fillmore, CNN reports.

It was also reported, fire season got off to an ominous start Tuesday as Santa Ana winds fueled five brush fires across Southern California, including a 8,600-acre blaze that forced hundreds of residents to flee their homes in Ventura County.

The blazes erupted like clockwork on the first day of autumn, which typically marks the beginning of Santa Ana winds. Firefighters braced for a tough week ahead with more unusually strong winds and extreme heat forecast through the end of the week.

"We're in triple-digit temperatures and single-digit humidities . . . and it's beginning with a bang here," said climatologist William Patzert of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "There's not much good news."

In Ventura County, more than 600 firefighters mobilized to combat the fast-moving Moorpark wildfire, which started just south of Fillmore near Guiberson Road and ate through miles of rugged hillsides and agricultural land until reaching the outskirts of Moorpark, Los Angeles Times reports.

As the fire sped south, aerial footage showed the blaze approaching a home.

Oil pipelines connected to pumping rigs in the oil fields could be breached by the fire, which could be disastrous. If that happened, Nash said, workers would cut off the oil flow in the pipes to prevent the fire from spreading through the lines and causing an outburst of flames in another area.

Nash said he is unsure how many pipelines run below the brush-covered fields.

The Guiberson fire threatens homes, ranches and farmland, among other structures, Nash said. The Ventura County sheriff has called for voluntary evacuations for residents in a rural, unincorporated section of Moorpark where several ranches are also located, he said. Watch scenes from the fire »

Strong wind, 100-plus degree temperatures and dry grass and light brush are fueling the fire, whose embers are being flung as far as a mile from the flames, fire officials said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to the Ventura fire department, CNN reports.

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