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Brush Fire In Ventura County Grows To 1600 Acres; 30,000 People Under Mandatory Evacuations

Firefighters battle the Easy Fire Wednesday afternoon as it tries to cross the 23 Freeway in Simi Valley, and move into Moorpark

A 1600 acre brush fire continues to burn out of control and threaten thousands of homes in Ventura County. The Easy Fire started just after 6 a.m. Wednesday near Easy Street, just south of Highway 118 in Simi Valley. With winds topping 50 miles an hour, the fire burned southwest, through the hills around the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.  An estimated 30,000 people are under mandatory evacuation orders. 

It’s burning in an area south of the 118, north of Olsen Road, West of Madera Road and east of Highway 23. With the fire trying to push to the southwest, firefighters have been using the 23 as a barrier to try to keep the blaze from moving towards Moorpark, the Santa Rosa Valley and Sunset Hills in Thousand Oaks.  Firefighters say they were able to keep the blazes within the boundaries.  It briefly jumped Highway 23 Wednesday afternoon, but that extension of the fire was put out after it burned around an acre of land.

An army of a thousand firefighters aided by air tankers, and helicopters helped keep the fire from moving into neighborhoods. An estimated 7000 homes are considered to be threatened, and are in evacuation zones. Some outbuildings have burned, but no homes have been confirmed lost.  Containment remains at 0%.  Three firefighters were injured.

Firefighters successfully kept the blaze from damaging the Presidential Library.

The key to the battle is the wind. National Weather Service meteorologists say we had winds in the fire zone topping 50 miles an hour. But, they say the wind has peaked, and should decrease as we move through Thursday.

A Red Cross shelter has been set up at the Thousand Oaks Community Center, next to Thousand Oaks High School on Moorpark Road. By midday, it had more than 60 people seeking a temporary place to stay.

There were frantic efforts this morning to evacuate horses, and other large animals from some ranches off of Tierra Rejada Road. They taken to the Ventura County Fairgrounds, the Ventura County Animal Services shelter in Camarillo, and the Earl Warren showgrounds in Santa Barbara.

There's no word on the cause of the fire.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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