OJAI, Calif. - A brush fire that burned more than 180 acres near Ojai prompted the evacuation of several homes Monday afternoon.
The fire was first reported around 3:45 p.m. near the intersection of Casitas Pass and Santa Ana roads.
According to the Ventura County Fire Department, the fire had burned between 20-30 acres as of 4:50 p.m. By 5:45 p.m., the fire had exploded to more than 180 acres.
The Ventura County Fire Department requested additional aerial support with the blaze in the form of a VLAT (Very Large Air Tanker) which was called in to assist crews on the ground.
#Timelapse of the #CasitasFire burning near #Ojai as captured by the @AlertWildfire Red Mountain camera. This one really puts the whole fire into perspective and you can see visible flames. pic.twitter.com/X6yC27Weak— Travis Schlepp (@travischlepp) June 14, 2021
At about 7:40 p.m., County Fire posted a video update from Fire Captain Brian McGrath who explained that the roughly 188-acre fire was being contained at a good rate.
#CasitasFire; FF’s are making good progress on this approx 150 acre fire. @LosPadresNF will be the lead agency and @VCFD will be assisting them throughout the night. #VCFD @CSFPD pic.twitter.com/qiZIHXZLoA— VCFD PIO (@VCFD_PIO) June 15, 2021
He said the smoke was laying down because there was no wind pushing it, which aided in the efforts of firefighters who could just focus on dealing with hot, dry conditions as the fire spread through light grass.
Air tankers helped get a lot of water on the fire along with aid from other counties and departments.
Crews said they will remain on scene monitoring the fire to ensure it is out, but that things are looking good for now.
No structures were immediately threatened, the fire department said. But by 5:30 p.m., evacuations were ordered in the Santa Ana Creek and Cooper Canyon area north of Casitas Pass and Baldwin Road, west of of Ranch Road. The Ventura County Sheriff's Office said fewer than 10 homes were affected by this evacuation order.
By 9:30 p.m. all evacuation orders were lifted.
California Highway Patrol requested a closure of Highway 150 at the Ventura County line with traffic being diverted via Highway 101. A hard closure was put in place by Caltrans around 5 p.m.
Highway 33 was also being used as an alternate route to the Ojai Valley.
The Ventura County Sheriff's Office said only local residents with identification will be allowed through.
By 9:30 p.m. all road closures were lifted.
Ventura County is currently under an excessive heat warning from 10 a.m June 15 through 9 p.m. June 16, and an excessive heat watch from 9 p.m. June 16 to 9 p.m. June 18.
A Red Flag warning is currently in effect for parts of southern Santa Barbara County due to high temperatures and strong winds.
Both the United States Forest Service and the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District responded to assist the Ventura County Fire Department.
For continued updates on this fire, visit VCEmergency.com.