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Investigators Determine Causes Of Two Major Ventura County Wildfires Which Forced Thousands To Flee

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A helicopter makes a water drop on the 2019 Maria brush fire burning near Santa Paula in October and November of 2019

Fire investigators say two major brush fires in Ventura County which caused thousands of evacuations were caused by the combination of extreme wind conditions, and power line problems.  Final reports have just been issued on the investigations of the sources of the 2019 “Easy” and “Maria” wildfires.

The Easy Fire started on October 30th last year in Simi Valley.  It burned two structures, threatened the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, closed Highway 23 and forced thousands of evacuations.

Investigators say the 1800 acre fire was started when an insulator attached to Southern California Edison high voltage power lines swung into a steel power pole.

The Maria Fire started a day later, on October 31st of last year, on South Mountain outside of Santa Paula.  High wind conditions were again a factor.   Investigators say it involved a power line owned by California Resources Corporation.  They say an electrical conductor separated, and touched a metal pipe on the ground, igniting the fire.

The Maria Fire burned nearly 10,000 acres of land, forced thousands of evacuations, and damaged four structures before it was contained.