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Ventura County

Homeless evacuated as large brush fire burns in Ventura riverbed

OXNARD, Calif. - Firefighters responded to a large brush fire in riverbed between Ventura and Oxnard Tuesday evening.

Smoke and flames from the blaze were seen throughout Ventura County.

The fire was first reported around 5 p.m. in the Santa Clara riverbed near River Ridge Golf Club.

Large flames filled the sky with smoke, leading to multiple phone calls to our newsroom.

Video from the ALERTWildfire camera atop Butler Hill shows the fire exploding in size in only one hour's time.

By 6 p.m. the fire burned 20 acres and was moving at a rapid rate of spread. Ventura County Fire Captain Brian McGrath said the fire was burning in heavy arundo vegetation in the riverbed.

By 7:45 p.m., Ventura County Fire said the fire was holding at about 50 acres and no injuries were reported.

Few structures were immediately threatened by the blaze as the fire was surrounded by freeway and other natural barriers. The Ventura County Sheriff's Office assisted with evacuating homeless and unhoused people living in the area.

Ventura County, Ventura City and Oxnard City Fire Departments responded to the fire.

Capt. McGrath urged onlookers to avoid the area, as pedestrians have already slowed first responded from getting to the area.

According to the Ventura City Fire Department, winds were expected to die down over night, aiding firefighters in their fight to contain the fire.

The fire is under investigation, but is believed to have been sparked by a homeless encampment.

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