Nov. 2 (UPI) — Southern California Edison utility company said it re-energized its power lines in Ventura County minutes before the start of the Maria Fire, which has consumed three structures as of Saturday morning.
The blaze sparked to life Thursday night on the upper ridge of South Mountain, near Santa Paula. The town is about 45 miles northwest of Los Angeles and 35 miles east-southeast of Santa Barbara.
The Ventura County Star reported the fire consumed 10, 720 acres as of Friday night. The Ventura County Fire Department said there was zero percent containment as of around the same time period. It has destroyed three structures and threatened 1,800 others, as well as radio communications and high-voltage electrical power lines in the area.
Southern California Edison said that though it’s not sure what caused the Maria Fire, the company did re-energize its power lines in the vicinity about 13 minutes before it sparked. The company had previously cut off power to the area amid strong winds.
Officials ordered the evacuation of 10,800 people in the area.
Ventura County Assistant Fire Chief John McNeil said Friday that fire crews made progress on the western side of the blaze.
“We’re feeling more confident after a full day’s work to today that that edge is getting more secure,” he said.
Acres of avocado and citrus crops also were under protection by fire crews.
The county produced $ 244 million in lemons and $ 103 million in avocados in 2018, Ventura County’s crop and livestock report indicates.
The Maria Fire was one of multiple blazes threatening both Southern and Northern California amid a strong Santa Ana Wind event — strong winds with hot, dry weather conditions.
Also in Ventura County, the Easy Fire sparked Wednesday in the Simi Valley near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The flames initially threatened the facility, but the VCFD was able to bring the fire under control.
As of Friday evening, it had consumed 1,806 acres and was 80 percent contained. The blaze hadn’t grown, nor had containment increased since earlier in the day.
Officials lifted all evacuations associated with the blaze Thursday.
Closer to Los Angeles, the Getty Fire was coming under control at 745 acres and 74 percent containment as of Friday evening. The Los Angeles Fire Department said firefighters were monitoring hot spots and officials lifted all evacuation orders.
The blaze began Monday in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. The LAFD said the cause appears to be accidental — a tree branch broke and landed on a power line during high winds. The subsequent sparks ignited nearby brush.
The Getty Fire destroyed 10 homes and damaged 15 others. Five firefighters sustained injuries battling the blaze.
Just north of San Bernardino, the Hillside Fire was 200 acres Friday evening with 90 percent containment.
The blaze began Thursday morning and has since destroyed six homes and damaged 18 others. One firefighter was transported to an area hospital for smoke inhalation.
Officials lifted evacuation orders Thursday afternoon.
The state’s largest ongoing fire is the Kincade Fire in Northern California, about 75 miles west of Sacramento in Sonoma County.
The blaze, which sparked to life Oct. 23, was 77,758 acres and 70 percent contained as of Friday night. Though emergency officials lifted some mandatory evacuation orders, some orders were still in place Saturday morning, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said.
The Kincade Fire destroyed 352 structures, including 174 homes, and damaged another 55.